Jansrud claims season-opening downhill

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Lake Louise (Canada) (AFP) - Olympic super-G champion Kjetil Jansrud captured the season-opening men's World Cup downhill by holding off a fierce challenge from Manny Osborne-Paradis and Guillermo Fayed.

The 29-year-old Jansrud finished the 3,133 metre course in one minute, 50.20 seconds in the first of two World Cup races this weekend in the Canadian Rockies.

Skiing back-to-back in the 26th and 27th positions, France's Fayed and Canada's Osborne-Paradis clocked identical 1:50.34 times to finish in a tie for second.

Jansrud, who also had the fastest time in Wednesday's lone training run, posted his first career win at Lake Louise.

He earned US$31,000 (C$35,000) for the victory while Osborne-Paradis and Fayed collected $20,000 each.

Organizers had to cancel Thursday and Friday's training runs after storms dumped 50 centimetres (19 inches) of snow on the course.

But the racers were greeted with a sun-splashed icy piste on Saturday morning with temperatures hovering around -24 Celsius (-11 Fahrenheit).

Italy's Dominik Paris, who won last year's Lake Louise downhill, finished fourth in 1:50.61 while American Marco Sullivan rounded out the top five with a time of 1:50.68.

Jansrud won two Olympic medals at the Sochi Games earlier this year, taking a bronze in downhill to go along with his super-G gold. He almost collected a third Sochi medal, finishing fourth in the combined.

Crowd favourite Osborne-Paradis won his first World Cup medal in at Lake Louise in 2006, placing second.

Saturday's podium finish is expected to be a huge confidence boost for the newly-married Canuck veteran. He is still trying to come back from a devastating crash almost four years ago in which he broke his leg and tore a ligament.

"It is nice to stand on the podium again," said Osborne-Paradis, who took two years off after the crash.

Osborne-Paradis finished a disappointing 28th in the downhill at the Canadian venue last year.

Fayed, who turned 29 on Friday, celebrated his birthday with the first World Cup podium of his career.

Austria's Matthias Mayer, who shocked the ski world when he claimed the downhill gold in Sochi, placed 15th with a time of 1:51.28.

With the victory, Jansrud seizes an early lead in the World Cup downhill standings with 100 points. Osborne-Paradis and Fayed each have 80.

The second Lake Louise race and first super-G of the 2014-15 season is scheduled for Sunday.

After Sunday's race, the next stop for the men is a downhill race Friday in Beaver Creek, Colorado.