Edmonton Journal

Ganong takes downhill with ‘perfect run’

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SANTA CATERINA, ITALY — Skiing on a hill he hasn’t seen before usually gets Travis Ganong fired up. Racing the downhill on a new slope to the men’s World Cup circuit certainly brought the best out of the American skier on Sunday.

A flawless run on the Deborah Compagnoni course earned Ganong his first World Cup victory, less than six weeks before his home world championsh­ip race in Beaver Creek.

“First World Cup win!!!! Stoked to be able to say that!!” Ganong posted on Twitter.

“I love to take on a new challenge and a new slope,” said Ganong, a Squaw Valley, Calif., native who was just 26th in the only training session Friday. “I love the hill, the mountains are huge here and it’s fun skiing.”

Ganong finished the race in 1 minute, 32.42 seconds to beat Olympic champion Matthias Mayer of Austria by 0.09 and Dominik Paris of Italy by 0.21.

Manuel Osborne-Paradis of North Vancouver, B.C., was the top Canadian in 36th.

Ganong called his effort “a perfect run.”

“I went really, really straight in a couple areas,” the American said. “It was really smooth and I was able to carry it all the way down. The last big carousel turn I did perfectly, I don’t think I could do that again if I tried.”

Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud, who has won two downhill races this season, was 1.35 behind and finished outside of the top 10, though he still leads the discipline standings.

Meanwhile, in Kuehtai, Austria, it didn’t take long for Swedish skier Sara Hector to follow up her first World Cup podium with her maiden victory.

Just two weeks after coming second in a giant slalom in Are, Sweden, Hector upset all pre-race favourites to win a GS on Sunday.

On a course new to the World Cup, Hector finished in a combined time of 2 minutes, 17.61 seconds to beat Anna Fenninger of Austria by 0.09 seconds.

American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin, who led after the opening run, came 0.18 behind in third, while Marie-Pier Prefontain­e of StSauveur, Que., earned a career-best sixth place finish. Tina Maze of Slovenia was seventh to remain in the lead of the overall standings.

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