Squaw’s Bennett matches career-best finish
For the second consecutive World Cup downhill event, Squaw Valley’s Bryce Bennett finished just off the podium, matching a career-best fourth place on an icy day in Bormio, Italy to close out 2018.
Bennett raced to a time of 1 minute, 55.88 seconds last Friday, and for the second straight race was edged off the podium by Switzerland’s Beat Feuz, who finished 0.15 ahead of Bennett for third place.
“I want a podium pretty bad, but Feuz — the Swiss guy with the red leader bib — just keeps beating me out,” Bennett said with a laugh in an interview with US Ski & Snowboard. “I don’t know what happened … I just kind of put it on the rev limiter and committed to the turn.”
Feuz, who is the top-ranked downhill skier, beat Bennett by 0.06 at the last downhill event in Val Gardena, Italy.
U.S. Ski & Snowboard reported the icy conditions at Bormio made for some of the toughest racing since in the 1990s. Local athlete Travis Ganong opted out of the event after losing a ski and crashing into the nets in the second downhill training run.
“Unfortunately I have to sit out on today’s World Cup Downhill in Bormio,” Ganong posted to his Instagram account. “My crash yesterday in the training run after my ski came off was too much for my body and I am not ready to push 100 percent today down the icy gnarly track.”
Bennett, who was the fastest American on the day, also commented on the conditions following the race at Bormio.
“The first training runs were very unforgiving, and it was a little more unforgiving today,” he said during an interview with US Ski & Snowboard. “The men’s downhill field is very competitive right now, so if you make a mistake, you’re not going to be in there. Limiting the mistakes and putting your foot on the gas pedal every single race is what you have to do now, or you won’t be competitive. Today I was happy with my run … I didn’t know it was quite that good, which is usually a good sign.”
Italians Dominik Paris (1:55.21) and Christof Innerhofer (1:55.57) took first and second, respectively.
Bennett went on to compete in super-G the following day at Bormio, and finished in 48th with a time of 1:33.90. He is currently the No. 6 ranked downhill skier and No. 29 in the overall standings. Paris picked a second straight win, finishing the event with a time of 1:29.95. Ganong did not start.
The next World Cup event will be a slalom race this weekend in Zagreb, Croatia.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at email@example.com.