Dave Ryding is first British skier to win Alpine skiing World Cup race

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KITZBÜHEL, Austria —- Dave Ryding became the first British winner in the 55-year history of the Alpine skiing World Cup on Saturday, triumphing in one of the classic slaloms of the men’s circuit.

Ryding, who was sixth after the opening run, was leading the final leg when he saw the last five racers all make big mistakes and finish well behind — or not at all.

“I had so much emotion when I finished, now I just don’t know what to say. I’m normally not lost for words but now I am,” Ryding said right after the race.

Lucas Braathen, who spectacularly won the slalom in Wengen last week coming from 29th position after the first run, finished 0.38 seconds behind in second, followed by Norwegian teammate Henrik Kristoffersen, who improved from 24th after the opening run.

Ryding’s triumph came five years after the Briton earned his first career World Cup podium at the same iconic venue in the Austrian Alps, finishing runner-up to Austrian great Marcel Hirscher.

Ryding had two more podium results, most recently in Adelboden a year ago, before finally clinching his maiden win.

“I’m 35 now but I never stopped believing. I never stopped trying,” Ryding said. “And to bring the first victory for Great Britain in a World Cup in Kitzbühel, I don’t know if dreams are made better, it’s some place.”

The win crowns a remarkable career for Ryding, who learned to ski on dry slopes and only skied on snow for the first time at the age of 12.

He made his World Cup debut in Alta Badia in 2009 and was competing in his 97th race Saturday.

Ryding became the fifth different winner in the fifth men’s slalom of the season as the top-ranked racers after the first run all struggled in dense snowfall on the demanding course.

First-run leader Alex Vinatzer of Italy dropped to 18th, and French pre-race favorite Clément Noël went from second to 15th.

Norway’s Sebastian Foss-Solevåg and Italy’s Giuliano Razzoli, who were third and fourth, respectively, both straddled a gate and failed to finish.

Defending overall champion Alexis Pinturault also straddled a gate early in his second run as the Frenchman became one of 11 racers who skied out in the final leg.

Luke Winters, wearing bib No. 38, was the top American finisher in 11th. Teammate Benjamin Ritchie also qualified for the second run but skied out halfway down the course.

Manuel Feller, the top-ranked Austrian in slalom, sat out the race after testing positive for COVID-19.

The slalom was initially scheduled for Sunday but organizers swapped it with a downhill, which could not have been staged Saturday because of the snowfall.

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Dave Ryding is first British skier to win Alpine skiing World Cup race originally appeared on NBCSports.com