Steven Nyman took advantage of improving weather conditions to conquer the Val Gardena classic downhill for the second time on a shortened Saslong course on Saturday.
Six years after his only World Cup victory to date on the same Italian piste, the 30-year-old American upset the favorites to win in 1 minute, 28.82 seconds.
The organizers’ decision to hold the race at all costs after two delays and an interruption helped the Park City speed specialist back on the podium for the first time in five years.
“I realized that it was going to be faster, but to be honest, it was even faster than I thought and it sometimes went almost too fast for me,” said Nyman, who has three World Cup podiums behind him.
Slovenia’s Rok Perko finished second, 0.19s adrift, for his first top-10 placing after seven years on the circuit.
In a race favoring late starters, world champion Erik Guay finished third, 0.24 behind Nyman.
Starting in much worse conditions with poor visibility, Norwegians Kjetil Jansrud and Aksel Lund Svindal finished fourth and fifth respectively.
Svindal took his overall World Cup total to 585 points, leading American Ted Ligety by 177 points, while holder Marcel Hirscher of Austria lies third on 380 points.
Heavy snowfalls forced two delays to the race and it finally took place two hours behind schedule on a shortened course to enhance visibility.
The Val Gardena downhill had been stopped last season because of gusty winds and the International Ski Federation clearly did not want it to be called off again.
Meanwhile, the women’s World Cup Super-G scheduled to take place at Val d’Isere, France, on Saturday was called off because of heavy snowfall.
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