By Maximilian Haupt, dpa
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany (dpa) – Thomas Dressen was the first man out of the start gate and no other skier managed to better his time as he became the first German to win the Garmisch-Partenkirchen downhill home race in 28 years on Saturday.
Dressen’s success follows a season trend of home wins in the discipline, with Italy’s Dominik Paris winning both Bormio races, Swiss Beat Feuz triumphing in Wengen, and Austrian Matthias Mayer prevailing in Kitzbuehel.
The 25-year-old, who missed virtually the whole of last season with a severe knee injury, claimed a second season win and fourth overall in a tight race on a shortened course.
Dressen clocked 1 minute 39.31 seconds as he rebounded well from 26th in Kitzbuehel last week and became the first German since Markus Wasmeier in 1992 to win the Garmisch race.
He finished 0.16 seconds ahead of Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway, with 39-year-old Frenchman Johan Clarey another hundredth back in third.
“It was already a dream for me as a little boy to race here in Garmisch. I know the course inside out,” Dressen told broadcaster ZDF. “The atmosphere was fantastic.”
Feuz meanwhile missed the podium for the first time this season in sixth place in a race which saw the top 19 finish within one second.
Mayer did not ski because of illness, and also not present was Paris who suffered a season-ending knee injury last week.
Feuz remains top in the downhill standings with 520 points, with Paris still second on 384. In the overall list, Kilde moved into second with 780 points, 61 behind compatriot Henrik Kristoffersen who doesn’t participate in downhills.
Italian veteran Peter Fill meanwhile finished 52nd and last but that didn’t matter as the 37-year-old was skiing his last career race. He waved to fans and officials and got a big reception at the finish, being doused with champagne by other skiers and welcomed by his family.
Fill won three World Cup races, two downhill World Cup trophies, and has a 2009 super-g silver and 2011 super-combined bronze from world championships.
The Garmisch weekend is completed with a giant slalom on Sunday.
The women meanwhile saw their downhill in Rosa Khutor, Russia, cancelled on the day following heavy snowfall.
Skiers had been unable to train on the 2014 Olympic course and a mandatory test run Saturday before the race was also impossible.
A super-g is scheduled at the venue on Sunday.