Ryding wins in Kitzbühel

Dave Ryding has come from the dry slopes of Pendle and across the United Kingdom to return to the scene of his previous momentous moment, Kitzbühel, and has now won his first World Cup race. Lucas Braathen and Henrik Kristoffersen joined Ryding on the podium with Michael Matt and Johanes Strolz rounding out the top five.

The Kitzbühel slalom is one of the richest races on the World Cup tour. It is the race every racer wants to win. When he finished second in 2017, many commented this was his highlight but Ryding is a great self believer and it is this belief that has taken him to the top step on the podium. He has seen friends of his from other nations go and win and after the race Ryding commented that at 35, had his chance gone. Not a chance. In January 2022 Ryding took his chance and joins the illustrious group of World Cup winners, the first British racer to do so.

With the conditions akin to racing in Scotland, heavy snow fall and visibility that gave the racers little help, Ryding used all his experience and guile to learn from the mistakes others had made on various sections to ski fast and furious.

There were a high number of racers crashing out the Italian set course. Lots of hairpins set in tricky positions caught out 11 racers on the second run.

With Kristoffersen using his own motivation from 24th after the first run to take a grip of the second run, many did not feel that he would be able to hold on for the race win like his compatriot, Lucas Braathen, had done in Wengen the race before.

It was Braathen though who dislodged Kristoffersen from the lead.

With Olympic qualification slots for the Swiss team and the Austrians still not finalised, the likes of Michael Matt and Johannes Strolz benefitted from the high number of racers to ski out as they battled into and held onto places near the top of the finishers list in the finish.

Ryding has always been a fighter and his great self belief even after straddling in two of the races this season has always been one of his strong points. While he admits that this determination sometimes makes him hard to work with, he is steadfast in his desire to do his best.

A few years ago he swapped to an unknown goggle company, Yniq, as he felt that this would give him that extra advantage. This belief paid off handsomely as he attacked, risked and hung on down the the Ganslern course.

Quick feet, preparing before some of the tricky sections and then attacking to the line, Ryding bettered the time of Braathen by 0.38. Braathen was quick to applaud Ryding's run and then it was a case of waiting to see where he would finish up.

Marc Rochat was first out and he dropped down the list, then Giuliano Razzoli skied out, a straddle, then the thoughts of another podium came to everyones head. Could it happen?

When Sebastian Foss-Solevaag also came to grief, yes it was a podium but where?

Clement Noel, so masterful on the first run attacked his second run but he too came to grief, going too fast into the tricky hairpin on the ridge just after the start and skiing wide into the soft powder.

The heart rate rose and the what if's, can it really happen, started to float in and out.

When Vinatzer made the same mistake as Noel, the dream of Ryding, his team and every British ski racing fan was reality. Dave Ryding had taken Britain into the nations of World Cup race winners.

Ryding admitted after the race that it was his belief that kept him going. The support of his family and fiancee was at the core of his determination along with the work that his coach, Tristan Glasse Davies, has put in over the last 12 years. Glass Davies quit his own racing career to help make Ryding's dream come true.

The corks will be popping all around the ski clubs in the UK but the one work that sums up this result is 'belief.'

Belief to keep working hard and the belief to take the risks when the weather is not blue bird!

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