BORMIO, Italy (AP) — Just 10 days after his first career World Cup podium, American Ryan Cochran-Siegle followed it up with a surprising victory on one of Alpine skiing's most iconic courses.
Cochran-Siegle won Tuesday's super-G on the Stelvio course in the Italian Alps by a huge margin for his first World Cup victory.
He had a precise and smooth run on one of the circuit’s most challenging slopes to finish 0.79 seconds faster than Vincent Kriechmayr of Austria.
“It’s definitely a shock to me,” said Cochran-Siegle, the first male American skier to win a World Cup super-G since Bode Miller won in Hinterstoder, Austria, in 2006.
Cochran-Siegle also became the first American winner on the Stelvio since Miller won a downhill on the same slope 13 years ago to the day.
“I didn’t hold any expectations on this track, I just tried to ski the hill as well as I could,” the Burlington, Vermont, native said.
Adrian Smiseth Sejersted was 0.94 behind in third, followed by his Norwegian teammate Aleksander Aamodt Kilde. The defending overall World Cup champion trailed by 1.18 seconds.
Cochran-Siegle's previous career best result came this month when he finished runner-up to Kilde in a downhill on the Saslong course in another Italian resort, Val Gardena.
“It’s funny, the podium in (Val) Gardena was definitely more than you could expect. Of course, you always dream of it as a kid,” he said.
Last weekend, Cochran-Siegle posted the fastest times in both downhill training runs on the Stelvio. The downhill race is scheduled for Wednesday.
His recent strong showings have given him confidence “that allows me to ski (in a way) that it looks like taking a little bit of risk but also kind of carrying some smooth skiing. I think if you find that, it becomes easy.”
Still, Cochran-Siegle didn't regard himself as a main candidate for the win in the downhill, the last World Cup race of 2020.
“I don’t think I am a favorite tomorrow. Watching video yesterday I think there are a lot of good skiers. I am still young and I am still learning,” he said.
It was in super-G that the 28-year-old Cochran-Siegle, son of 1972 Olympic slalom champion Barbara Cochran, earned his first World Cup points in only his second race on the tour, in Beaver Creek, Colorado in 2011.
After winning the junior world titles in downhill and combined a few months later, Cochran-Siegle's promising career suffered a setback when he badly hurt his knee in a crash at the world championships in Austria in 2013.
After a complicated recovery, he returned to the circuit in February 2016.
“Just a lot of years of hard work, working on my my skiing and working on my focus, trying to find that mental race day approach,” Cochran-Siegle said.
“I feel like I can trust myself now, trust to just let things flow and ski with some smooth skiing,” he added. “It’s definitely a good place to be right now where I am at.”
Defending World Cup super-G champion Mauro Caviezel, who won this season's first race the discipline, finished fifth and the Swiss skier remained top of the discipline standings after three races.
Overall World Cup leader Alexis Pinturault finished 12th.
The super-G was rescheduled from Monday, when heavy snowfall and fog made the race impossible. The weather vastly improved overnight and conditions were excellent on Tuesday.