Mayer delights home crowd with Kitzbuehel downhill victory

Mayer delights home crowd with Kitzbuehel downhill victory
Austria's Matthias Mayer celebrates in the finish area after completing an alpine ski, men's World Cup downhill, in Kitzbuehel, Austria, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Marco Trovati)

KITZBUEHEL, Austria (AP) — Matthias Mayer won the classic World Cup downhill on the Streif course on Saturday, becoming the first Austrian winner of the event in six years.

In cloudy conditions but on a perfect track, Mayer crowned a gutsy run by finishing 0.22 ahead of Austrian teammate Vincent Kriechmayr and Switzerland’s Beat Feuz, who tied for second.

It was the eighth career World Cup win for the two-time Olympic champion and third of the season, after triumphing in a super-G in Lake Louise, Alberta, in December and an Alpine combined in Wengen, Switzerland, last week.

No Austrian had won the prestigious race, which is usually attended by tens of thousands of spectators, since Hannes Reichelt in 2014.

World Cup downhill champion Feuz was denied victory in the circuit’s most challenging race once again, as he finished runner-up for the fourth time in the last five years.

Feuz, however, extended his lead in the discipline standings. He is currently 96 points clear of Dominik Paris, who won the downhill here last season, while Mayer climbed to third, trailing Feuz by 180 points.

Paris has been ruled out for the remainder of the season after tearing the ACL and fracturing the fibula head in his right knee in a crash during super-G practice this week.

France duo Johan Clarey and Maxence Muzaton placed fourth and fifth, respectively, while Kjetil Jansrud, who won a super-G here Friday, finished sixth.

American downhiller Steven Nyman was among the fastest starters and still was ahead of Mayer’s time at the fourth split time but he couldn’t match the Austrian’s pace in the demanding bottom section of the course.

Nyman came 1.05 off the lead in 13th, five places behind the best American finisher, Bryce Bennett.

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