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Sunday December 10, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

The British skier said it wasn't his day after finishing 19th at the World Cup slalom in the French resort. PlanetSKI spoke to him after the race. NEW & UPDATED

Dave Ryding had finished the first run in 15th place and was hoping to move up the leaderboard when the top 30 went in the second run. 

He was unable to do so and ended the race in 19th place more than two seconds behind the winner, the Austrian Marcel Hirscher.

Norway's Henrik Kristoffersen was second and Sweden's Andre Myhrer third.

Both runs took place in difficult conditions with heavy snow falling throughout and Dave Edwards, the Chief Executive of the governing body British Ski and Snowboard, suggested Ryding had been put at a disadvantage.

A clearly disappointed Ryding said he didn't want to make excuses but there was so much snow coming off the gates that it was hard to see.

Dave RydingNot happy with that

"Not my day," he told PlanetSKI.

"It's the same for everyone but I really struggled with the visibility.  I couldn't ski how I wanted to ski."

Support for Dave RydingSupporting Dave Ryding

But Dave Edwards of BSS, who was in Val d'Isere watching the race, went further, suggesting to PlanetSKI that it had not been the same for every racer.

Dave Edwards and Jane Peel Dave Edwards with PlanetSKI's Jane Peel

"Clearly the very heavy snow hampered a number of the athletes," he told us.

"Dave was very unfortunate to have his second run immediately after the TV advert break during which the heavy, driving snow had an opportunity to settle on the slalom poles.

"Usually the hill crew would use this opportunity to improve the piste for the later runners but there appeared to be an absence of quality slip crew at that time.

"It was clear that Dave accumulated substantial amounts of snow bouncing from the slalom poles onto his goggles and struggled with visibility."

Edwards said that despite the setback Ryding would undoubtedly secure many more top five results.

The organisers themselves described conditions during the race as a "giant snowstorm" and said the racers "had to almost feel their way from gate to gate".

They said it was only thanks to immaculate preparation of the course that the race had been able to take place.

Two hundred workers had gathered before dawn and worked for hour after hour to shovel the excess snow off the steep slope.

Eurosport live teamEurosport getting snowed on

After ending the first run in 15th,  31-year-old Ryding admitted to PlanetSKI that failing to finish his second run at Levi in Finland last month had been partly on his mind.

Dave RydingDave Ryding mulling over run one

Ryding had been on course for victory at Levi, in the lead as the last racer on the course when he crashed out.
At least he now has his first World Cup points of the season, if only 12.

His previous best result at Val d'Isere was 12th two years ago. In 2016 he finished 17th. 

Graham Bell, the presenter of the BBC's Ski Sunday which features the Val d'Isere race on Sunday evening in the first programme of the season,  told us that Ryding had "taken a high line" and skied cautiously in run one and had lost time in the second half of the steep course on the Face de Bellevarde in run two.

Graham BellGraham Bell doing his thing

Dave RydingDave Ryding talks to Ski Sunday after the race

In contrast Marcel Hirscher, who took the bronze in Saturday's giant slalom here, went for it but could only manage 8th after the first run.

However, you write off the formidable Austrian, who broke his ankle in August, at your peril.

He came back fighting to take the victory. 

Marcel HirscherMarcel Hirscher

Marcel HirscherMarcel Hirscher victory interview

Hirscher said he had "made a little adjustment" after the first run and it meant a lot to him to win.

"The second run was much better," he said.

"Every day I am testing new skis and trying to find out what I like.  It's not easy for me, missing three months."

The weather didn't discourage the crowds, particularly the locals who turned out in force to cheer on the French contingent, though the best they could manage on home soil was 12th with Julien Lizeroux.

French supportFrench support

French supportFrench support

Jane Peel at the World Cup slalomPlanetSKI's Jane Peel supporting GB

Of course, all the Brits in Val d'Isere, including yours truly, were willing on Dave Ryding and it's a real shame he couldn't pull it out of the bag. 

But let's look on the bright side. 

Perhaps the pressure that is undoubtedly on him to succeed after last season's spectacular results and that oh-so-close season opener will now subside a little.

Slalom is a brutal discipline.

Sometimes it goes well and sometimes it doesn't.

As Dave Ryding said - today was not his day.

Another day will be because the Rocket Ryding is without question one of the best slalom skiers in the world.

Full stop.

See our preview of the race, including a video interview with Graham Bell:

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

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