Brilliant Ryding storms to podium as Schwarz wins

This was the third time that Dave Ryding has stood on the podium at a World Cup race. First there was Kitzbuehel in 2017, then Oslo in the City Event in 2019 and now January 2021, Ryding has added Adelboden has been added to his roll of honour. While he joked in the press conference after the race that he has been beaten on all three times by an Austrian, this adds to his childhood dream of standing on the podium in a World Cup race. Marco Schwarz won his first World Cup Slalom, third in all, 0.14 ahead of Linus Strasser with Dave Ryding 0.15 behind the winner.

This was a race that finally produced the conditions that slalom racers on the World Cup have been crying out for. This is what they train on: hard, icy snow with changing terrain. Ryding is a master of the flat terrain at the top of the course and this showed as he was fastest at two points on the second run. This was certainly not the same racer that looked like he was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders in Zagreb. This was Ryding enjoying his skiing again.

Adelboden has been a tough hill for him and 12th place was his best result prior to this race. "Adelboden will now be one of my favourite hills," he joked after the race.

The lack of fans in the approach to the finish was something that all three of the podium finishers commented on, they all missed the huge wave of noise that hits the racer as they come into the finish. "I really miss the fans, hopefully they will be back next year," Ryding commented.

Ryding is one of the most popular and hard working racers on the tour and to win a third podium on the back of the two wins in the Europa Cup for Billy Major and Laurie Taylor has the British team floating at the moment. Good results have such a positive effect on the team as a whole.

After Zagreb, Ryding was pretty down, he admitted and the thoughts of a World Cup win, let alone a podium place, were a long way from his mind.

The struggles this season at Alta Badia, Madonna di Campiglio and Zagreb will now be forgotten. Third place as moved the Quinn Estates sponsored racer up to 11th in the season long standings and up to 12 in the World Cup Start List. Coming into Adelboden, Ryding was in danger of dropping out of the top fifteen racers on the WCSL list. The Cowbell he has won in Adelboden will rest near the Gans he won in Kitzbuehel he has admitted.

"I was really happy with how I was skiing," Ryding explained after the race, "I felt really at one with the equipment, I was happy that I could attack."

Ryding was delighted that when he got onto the snow on the morning of the race and felt the snow, he admitted "finally it is winter. Zagreb was a borderline disgrace as they did not prepare it." The conditions in Adelboden suit Ryding he continued, "this sort of snow suit me and certainly on the Fischer's. I always know that the Fischer's work well in that and that is why I went back. I am thankful to Fischer for allowing me to come back."

Ryding reiterarated the effect that the fans have on a race and the conditions this year would have been perfect for fans he felt, "hopefully next year it can be the same weather!"

The feeling at the end of the first run was relief "and glad to be back among the good guys again," Ryding felt. "You start doubting yourself after some tough races,"he admitted. "and questioning all sorts but it is nice to show that I belong there and that I can still do it."

When Ryding came over the finish line on the second run and saw he was just a hundredth off the lead having made a mistake as he came on to the pitch, "I knew then it was already guaranteed top ten which is something I have not had before here."

The tightness of the race was not lost on Ryding. One hundredth behind second and two tenths and he would have been lower down the top ten. "I knew Yule was in fifth but only fifteen hundredths behind."

While Ryding and Yule race for different nations, both are members of the Kandahar Ski Club and Ryding was glad to wrestle the impromptu title of best in club back from Yule, even if only for a short while: "It is a bloody hard club to be best in," he announced!

Ryding is very wary of the support that the up and coming Slalom racers and Charlie Raposo have brought to the race. Normally it is just him and the support team but Billy Major and Laurie Taylor have raised their game and Ryding hopes they will soon be joining him in the 30. Major and Taylor are certainly pushing each other along and while Ryding benefitted from following Alain Baxter, Ryding hopes the two can benefit from his knowledge.

"It is really cool to have other teammates around," he explained. "I have been lifted by their results!" he explained. "I do not have words for how good their results have been. It gave me the thought of 'I want to keep going because I want to do a few years with the younger boys as they bring a good vibe, we get on well, so it makes me want to go on longer to experience racing with them, try and help them, if they want it obviously," Ryding believes that Major and Taylor are not far away from the thirty at all."

Talk of the two younger racers and Ryding gets excited about their potential. Taylor currently leads the Europa Cup standings with Major in third and with Ryding having won that tour in 2013, he really hopes that one of them can go on to emulate his achievements.

January in odd years is a good time for Dave Ryding. There is still Wengen, Kitzbuehel and Schladming to go!

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