If the damp conditions were supposed to put people off the racing, it did not dampen the determination of David Ryding as he stormed to a second place result in the Europa Cup night slalom in Chamonix. … Ryding has put his early season ‘blip’ behind him and since crashing out of the second Europa Cup race of the season has not finished lower than 6th! Having been 10th after the first run, Ryding mentioned to his coach, Tristan Glasse Davis, that he was going to attack hard for the second run: The end result saw Ryding take the lead from Julien Lizeroux and then hold it until ex World Cup Slalom Champion, JB Grange came down. Italian Riccardo Tonatti took third place ahead of Lizeroux and Maxime Tissot who shared fourth place.
Ryding is back in the groove. The rain lashed down during inspection and then as the clock ticked down to the start of the race, the best efforts of the course crew in trying to harden up the looked to be in vain. The salt was laid and despite the first racer, Daniel Yule, almost breaking through the surface, the course held up. With Ryding starting 5, a delay of about four minutes due to Giordano Ronci crashing and having to be removed from the course and taken to the hospital due to injuring his knee ligaments, Ryding patiently waited in the start.
Ryding had self motivation to banish the thoughts of racing in Chamonix last year: “Last year I was sick as a dog so I thought I had better pull one out,” he mentioned after the race. This year was a completely different ball game: In tenth place after the first run, Ryding did not feel under pressure. The soft snow and rain had contracted the field yet being in tenth place he knew that he “had to go fast if (he) was going to make any time.”
And fast he did go on the second run: he was smooth, clean and unlike many of the other racers around him, he did not let the ruts that had formed throw him on to the back seat. Many of the racers coming after him, including top World Cup Slalom racer, Alexis Pinturault, were thrown back and were not able to recover. Ryding attacked and “let it go.”
While Ryding was a little frustrated to be half a second behind Grange, he recognised that the Frenchman was the World Champion a few years ago (2011). With the chase for FIS points to give him a better start on the World Cup a major focus at the moment, Ryding scored his second best career result of 8.70, just a few weeks after scoring 7.29 when he won in Pozza.
With a large British contingent in the crowd cheering on Ryding and Jai Geyer who was also racing, they left feeling proud and buzzing for the man from Pendle.
When you look at the support that Grange has and the threadbare support that Ryding gets by on, what he has achieved is incredible: Grange has a full service team behind him: Physio’s, serviceman to do his skis each evening, numerous sponsors and countless coaches. Ryding does his own skis and has just one coach: Tristan Glasse Davis. This is David v Goliath if you will excuse the pun.
The financial support that Ryding gets from the likes of Delancey and equipment suppliers including Fischer and Bolle all helps to make life a little easier. But while Ryding will spend time in the ski hut preparing his skis for tomorrow nights next race, Grange (and many of the other racers in the field) are able to relax and unwind. Glasse Davis explained that Ryding will spend an hour and a half, maybe two hours doing his skis each night and this time could be better spent doing other things to make him a faster racer.
With a good serviceman costing serious money, the benefit is huge. While Ryding is getting better at doing his skis, he feels, he admits to feeling a pang of jealousy at what is available to some of his rivals. When you look at the financial implications of a serviceman, with wages and expenses to be covered, you are looking at around Â£75,000 a year. With the lack of UK Sport funding and limited commercial funding for the alpine section of the British Ski & Snowboard Team, it is not feasible at the moment. is there a supporter out there than can help this man reach the same peaks as his alpine competitors?
Sochi is getting ever so close now and Ryding standing up and being counted!