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Alpine skiing-Ryding wins Kitzbuehel slalom in British first

Randy Mancini 7 Jan 22
FIS Alpine Ski World Cup - Men's Slalom
Alpine Skiing - FIS Alpine Ski World Cup - Men's Slalom - Kitzbuehel, Austria - January 22, 2022 Britain's Dave Ryding celebrates after placing first in the men's slalom REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

January 22, 2022

(Reuters) -Dave Ryding won the Kitzbuehel men’s slalom on Saturday in a remarkable first for a British skier in the 55-year-history of the Alpine World Cup and with the Beijing Olympics only weeks away.

Norway’s Lucas Braathen and Henrik Kristoffersen were second and third respectively in the biggest slalom on the men’s circuit

Ryding, 35, also became the oldest winner of a men’s World Cup slalom and kissed the snow as he crossed the finish line in the Austrian resort.

“I guess there’s life in the old dog yet,” he told Eurosport television, whose commentator told British viewers not to adjust their screens.

“I’m 35 now but I never stopped believing, I never stopped trying … I always believed I could do it, I always thought I can do this but my races were getting less and less and doubt is always there.

“My team never stopped believing, they kept pushing me. More than I would like sometimes. My fiancee always supports me and my family is always there and I’m not the easiest to deal with all of the time. I hope they are popping a prosecco at home.”

Ryding had started 15th and was sixth after the first run down the Ganslern piste but he then put in a tremendous second leg while those starting ahead of him made errors or failed to finish.

Italy’s 2010 Olympic champion Giuliano Razzoli straddled a gate near the finish, Norway’s Sebastian Foss-Solevaag also straddled, France’s Clement Noel was all over the place and Italian Alex Vinatzer skied out.

“I had so much emotion when I finished and now I don’t know what to say,” said Ryding, whose coach dropped to the snow after the race shouting ‘He did it’ over and again.

“I’m normally not lost for words but now I am,” he added before ‘God Save the Queen’ sounded for the first time on an Alpine podium to cheers from the crowd.

“It means the world just to hear some Brits and people cheering,” he said.

“I don’t have a home race but there’s always some Brits in the Alps because we love skiing. We love to party as well.”

Ryding’s previous best slalom result on the World Cup circuit was second place, also in Kitzbuehel, in 2017.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, Editing by Louise Heavens and Ken Ferris)