SANTA CATERINA, Italy–German skier Josef Ferstl posted the fastest time in the first training session Friday for a World Cup downhill, the final men’s race of 2014.
Ferstl, whose sole career top-10 finish came two seasons ago by placing ninth in a downhill in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, was the first starter following a half-hour break for course maintenance after 30 skiers completed their run.
Ferstl came down the 3.275-kilometer Deborah Compagnoni course in 1 minute, 53.28 seconds to lead Brice Roger of France by 0.09 seconds.
Italy’s Christof Innerhofer was 0.34 back in third, and Olympic downhill champion Matthias Mayer of Austria trailed Ferstl by 0.69 in fourth.
The rest of the field was more than a second behind, with American Steven Nyman, who won in Val Gardena a week ago, finishing 1.58 off the lead in seventh and overall World Cup leader Kjetil Jansrud of Norway trailing by 3.28 in 30th.
Jansrud, who won two downhills and two super-G races this season, leads defending overall champion Marcel Hirscher by 34 points. The Austrian is skipping Sunday’s race.
The second and final training is scheduled for Saturday.
Santa Caterina replaces the classic downhill on the Stelvio piste in nearby Bormio, which pulled out of the World Cup circuit after more than two decades.
The course in Santa Caterina, named after the Italian three-time Olympic gold medalist from the 1990s, was used for the women’s downhill at the 2005 world championships but has been modified since.