Vincent Kriechmayr Wins First Downhill in Val Gardena
Updated: Apr 16
Austria enjoyed their first win of the season in Val Gardena-Gröden. In a extremely tight, extremely tough and thrilling race, Vincent Kriechmayr beat season dominator Marco Odermatt by 0.11 seconds. Teammate Matthias Mayer finished in third place +0.13 behind.
For Kriechmayr it was his 13th victory in the World Cup (28th podium), the sixth in the Downhill, and the second one in Val Gardena. In 2019 the 31-year-old skier from Upper Austria won the Super-G race in the Italian ski resort. This season in the Downhill discipline Kriechmayr had finished eleventh at Lake Louise Downhill and fifth at Beaver Creek.
The Austrian skier was flawless on a shortened Saslong racecourse. Today's race in Val Gardena was set up to replace the cancelled Downhill at Beaver Creek.
"I tried to give 100 percent from top to bottom. If you want to beat Odermatt or Kilde you have to give 100 percent. And I succeeded today. A short descent is always special, everyone gives it a little more gas. I knew it would be a close race and you can't allow yourself any reserves. I was pretty fast in the last part of the race. I think that is why I am on top. It is a sprint and you have to push from the start to the finish. I'm glad it worked out that way", said Kriechmayr.
Marco Odermatt is still looking for his first career Downhill World Cup win after finishing second, 0.11sec behind Kriechmayr. His performance was made all the more impressive by the fact that Odermatt had never raced the Downhill in Val Gardena before.
Odermatt took another big step towards the Overall title, as he has finished on the podium in all seven races in which he has started this season. It is the 36th podium of the World Cup for the 25-year-old Swiss star.
“I am very, very happy with the race today. I did not know if I could ski for points, or for top ten, or for the podium today. I had no idea. I took a lot of risks, chose a new setup that I've never use before. It shows that I am in a high flow and everything is working at the moment”, said Odermatt.
Rounding out the podium was Matthias Mayer who finished just 0.02 behind Odermatt. It is his 45th World Cup podium. Mayer finished in 4th place in the first two Downhills of the season in Lake Louise and Beaver Creek.
It is the second podium of the season for Mayer after finishing in third place in the Super-G at Lake Louise.
The 32-year-old Austrian has been on the podium twice in the Val Gardena-Gröden Super-G, second in 2021 and third in 2017, but never in the Downhill.
“It is always nice to be on the podium. But it is so much nicer to be on a Downhill podium that you have never been before. It was a great race, and I am very happy with the result”, said Mayer.