The great return of Dominik Paris: the blue dominates the Val Gardena descent

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By John

It arrived paradoxically, but clearly and solemnly, right on Val Gardena Saslongthe track he loves least, the competitive resurrection of the blue Dominik Paris. In 1.59.84 and after a perfect race, in fact, the blue clearly prevailed in the classic Gardena descent on the entire Saslong route. For him – the best Italian sprinter in history and one of the best in the world – it is victory number 22 in his career, a true rebirth after the disappointing last season in which there were also rumors of a possible withdrawal from competitions given that he had achieved almost fortunately only one podium in super-G in Cortina. Second to the Norwegian Aleksander Kilde, who has won five times on the Saslong, well behind in 2.0028 and third in 2.00.44 to the American Bryce Brennett, winner of Thursday’s sprint downhill. «It’s too nice to win here, on this track where I’ve always struggled a lot – Paris says delightedly – but today I managed to ski freely and above all to do the jumps well», which have always been a big problem on the Saslong, especially on the bumps of the Ciaslat. «Yes, it was a beautiful and very exciting race. Even on the natural but hard snow at high altitude I felt good, skiing clean.” After which this great 34-year-old champion – family man, with two children from his childhood partner Kristina and a great passion for hard rock which he practices by playing the guitar (well) with his band – can reserve for the blue skiing other great satisfactions. And this already at the end of the year, in Bormio, on the grueling Stelvio on which he won 7 times. And maybe even in January in Kitzbuehel on the deadly Streif that Domme tamed four times before suffering a knee injury in training that would have blocked him for too long. But now it’s water under the bridge. The great work done on himself and on the materials after the bad last season has evidently paid off. And now with Paris everything is possible. For Italy – with perfect sun and track conditions but without surprises as in recent days thanks perhaps to a thermal inversion, with the track not speeding up with the passage of time and the sun illuminating and warming most of the Saslong – in this unforgettable descent (not since Kristian Ghedina in 2001 had an Italian won) there was also a good 7th place for Mattia Casse in 2.00.76. Matteo even took the satisfaction of equaling the time of the great Swiss champion Marco Odermatt. Then, further back, among others Florian Schieder in 2.01.44 and Christof Innerhofer in 2.01.50. Now the cup remains in the Dolomites but moves to nearby Val Badia for the two giant slaloms tomorrow and the day after on the famous Gran Risa slope with the South Tyrolean slalomist Alex Vinatzer who promised to make sparks on his home snow. Meanwhile in the Val d’Isere women’s freestyle – while an influenced Sofia Goggia almost inevitably had to settle for fourth place with Federica Brignone good 8/A – there was a Swiss double with Jasmine Flury 1/a and Joana Haehlen 2/a. Third place went to Austrian Cornelia Huetter. But tomorrow there will be the super-G, with a Goggia with greater strength, a Brignone in great shape and a Marta Bassino who wants to honor her title of world champion in this discipline.