It has been a hectic schedule for David Ryding, a successful one albeit. Yet this was the race that was maybe one too far in the grand scheme of things. Having placed 12th in Obereggen, 4th in Pozza and then 5th and 3rd Â in San Vigilio all in the Europa Cup since last Wednesday, Ryding has had a tough schedule to contend with. “It is not just me that has had to do this but all the guys on the Europa Cup tour,” he explained in the finish area after the first run in Madonna di Campiglio. Ryding is not one to complain and has reaped the rewards of a hard schedule that has seen him leap up to 8th in the Europa Cup standings. The benefits of this are earlier starts and cleaner courses from which he can attack.
Madonna was a different race. Starting 57, Ryding would have to negotiate a difficult hill that was icy, bumpy and steep yet had the some flat areas that Ryding is known to excel across. Sadly despite attacking and looking good on the top section, Ryding caught his right hand on a gate and lost the grip on his left ski at the same time. With 2.20 seconds (approxiametely) being the cut off time for the top 30, he had lost too much time with this mistake to have a chance of making the second run. 24 racers skied out on the first run and Ryding was part of this group.
Ryding knows that he still has time on his hands and although he came into the sport late, his body is holding together well. He has one more race before a well earned break over Christmas and this gives him a chance to improve those ever important FIS points. Until he breaks into the top 30 on the World Cup start list, it is the FIS points that he must chase. Zuos, near St Moritz, gives him the chance to improve the FIS points. In the last race, Henrik Kristofferson scored 6 FIS points in winning the race, so there is a great opportunity now that he is starting at the top of the race.
“It was over before it really kicked off,” explained Ryding after his run. “I lost the outside ski….!” Ryding was clearly frustrated as he had had a good week until this race. “I had made a few steps forward and then a step back tonight so hopefully I can make another step forward on Thursday.” Ryding knows that it “is on now so I really have to get some points and start earlier in the World Cup. Ryding is now benefitting from the new seed point list that has come out but knows that he has about three weeks before the next list is out: now is the time he needs to score some points before the next list is out.
Ryding may have come out of the race but this was a mere blip on the road to success.
The race was won by Marcel Hirscher after a tremendous second run charge by Naoki Yuasa. the young Japanese racer placed third after Felix Neureuther came down to take the lead with just two racers to go. Yuasa had started the second run 4th (27th place from the first run) to crash in the finish but managed to get to his feet for the celebrations.
Sadly the race was marred by the death of gate keeper during the first run from a heart attack. The 72 year old had a history of heart problems and collapsed right by two doctors who were unable to save his life.