'Rocket' Ryding makes GB history with Kitzbuehel win - RTHK
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'Rocket' Ryding makes GB history with Kitzbuehel win

2022-01-22 HKT 22:21
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  • Great Britain's Dave Ryding celebrates his fairytale victory with the trophy. Photo: AFP
    Great Britain's Dave Ryding celebrates his fairytale victory with the trophy. Photo: AFP
Dave Ryding pulled off a massive shock on Saturday when he won Britain's first World Cup race with victory in the men's slalom in Kitzbuehel.

Ryding clocked a combined total of 1min 41.26sec, finishing 0.38sec ahead of Norway's Lucas Braathen, with his teammate Henrik Kristoffersen in third (+0.65).

"This place is a special place for me," said Ryding, whose second-placed finish on the same Ganslern course in 2017 had matched Britain's previous best alpine skiing result achieved by Konrad Bartelski in the 1981 Val Gardena downhill.

"I had so much emotion when I finished and now I just don't know what to say. I'm normally not lost for words but now I am!"

Ryding didn't start ski race training on snow until he was 21, honing his technique instead on dry slopes in the north of England and content with the family's annual ski holiday.

He is a hugely popular fixture on the World Cup circuit and was last week named in the British team for the upcoming Beijing Olympics, which will be his fourth.

"I'm 35 now but I never stopped believing, I never stopped trying," he said.

"To bring the first victory for Great Britain in a World Cup in Kitzbuehel, I don't know if dreams are made better but you know, it's some place."

A career born on an artificial slope in the town of Pendle, in the northwest of England, has not gone unnoticed by his rivals, who from a young age spent many more hours skiing on real snow on their doorsteps.

For his journey, Ryding has commanded utmost respect and the Lancastrian was mobbed by rivals after he came to terms with the fact he had won on one of the circuit's most mythical courses.

"It's really amazing," he said. "I'm everybody's second favourite skier! Everyone knwos where I come from, my story.

"I guess now my name will go down in history." (AFP)