BORMIO, Italy (AP) — Icy, bumpy, dark and gnarly.
The Stelvio course is skiing’s version of heavy metal. Which is why it fits Dominik Paris, the World Cup circuit’s resident heavy metal singer, so perfectly.
Paris dominated again for his record-extending seventh victory in Bormio on Tuesday and sixth in downhill — making him the first male skier to win as many downhills at a single resort. The Italian broke a tie with Swiss standout Didier Cuche, who won five downhills in Kitzbühel, Austria.
Using his massive legs to absorb the Stelvio’s punishing terrain, Paris finished 0.24 seconds ahead of overall World Cup leader Marco Odermatt of Switzerland and 0.80 ahead of another Swiss skier, Niels Hintermann.
“I gave my maximum from the top to the bottom,” Paris said. “I like it here and I believe in myself. This course is rough and tough. When you’ve given your all here you’re satisfied at the finish.”
While officially no fans were permitted to attend the race because of anti-coronavirus measures, there were still plenty of cheers for Paris all the way down as recreational skiers tried to get as close to the race course as they could.
Paris’ other downhill wins in Bormio came in 2012 followed by four straight from 2017-19. He also won a super-G on the Stelvio in 2018.
With the 16th World Cup downhill win of his career, Paris moved ahead of Franz Heinzer and Hermann Maier into sole possession of fourth place on the all-time list. Only Franz Klammer (25), Peter Müller (19) and Stephan Eberharter (18) have more downhill wins than Paris.
Most of Paris’ wins came before he tore apart his knee in a crash while training in January 2020.
“The skiing is back and my confidence is back,” Paris said.
Odermatt put down what appeared to be a near-perfect run just before Paris started but then hardly had time to sit down in the leader’s seat before the Italian beat him.
Still, Odermatt extended his lead in the overall standings to 286 points.
“I thought maybe it could be the win but then Domme showed us again that he’s the king here,” Odermatt said.
It was the first downhill podium for Odermatt, who excels in giant slalom and super-G.
“I knew this slope could be good for me," Odermatt said. "It’s really for the technical skier as well, you have to ski clean and attack where you can.”
Hintermann collected his second straight downhill podium after also finishing third in Val Gardena.
“I was 29th in the (start-list rankings) and was just fighting to stay inside the top 30 and now two third places in a row," Hintermann said. "It’s insane.”
Hintermann added that he had “kind of a mental breakdown” after a series of crashes last season but then "gained new confidence” when he started working with a new coach.
Paris moved to the top of the downhill standings, 10 points ahead of Matthias Mayer, who struggled to a 12th-place finish.
Paris has never won the season-long downhill title and has made that his main goal for the season — ahead of winning a gold medal at the upcoming Beijing Olympics.
Other top racers also struggled.
Swiss standout Beat Feuz lost control going over some bumps midway down and fell. Feuz, who has won the season-long World Cup downhill title four consecutive times, slid down the mountain but avoided the safety nets.
Urs Kryenbuehl, another Swiss skier, plowed through a gate on the upper section of the course and also failed to finish.
Calgary's Jeffrey Read finished 24th and was top Canadian, followed by Toronto's James Crawford in 25th, Whistler's Broderick Thompson in 27th and North Vancouver's Brodie Seger in 32nd.
Paris can add to his Bormio total with super-G races scheduled for the Stelvio on Wednesday and Thursday.
At 32, Paris will hope to keep skiing until the 2026 Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo Olympics, when the men will race on the Stelvio.
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The Associated Press