Another U.S. downhill winner in Italy

Travis Ganong won his first alpine skiing race Sunday when he captured a downhill in Italy.

Story highlights

  • Travis Ganong wins his first downhill by claiming top spot in Santa Catarina
  • In a shortened run, he beat Austria's Matthias Mayer by 0.09 seconds
  • It was the U.S.'s second downhill triumph in Italy in about a week
  • Sweden's Sara Hector also won her first race in a women's giant slalom

(CNN)The way things have gone for the U.S. men in downhills in Italy this month, they probably wish every race could be held there.

After Steven Nyman won one of skiing's classics in Val Gardena about a week ago, Travis Ganong claimed the opening victory of his career by bettering the field in Santa Catarina -- a venue long known on the women's circuit but making its debut among the men.
    The course shortened due to high winds and bad visibility, Ganong took advantage and won in a time of one minute, 32.42 seconds.
    He was 0.09 seconds faster than Austria's Matthias Mayer and 0.21 seconds faster than home favorite Dominik Paris.
    "It was a perfect run," Ganong told the U.S. ski team's website. "I love to take on a new challenge and a new slope. I love the hill -- the mountains are huge here and it's fun skiing.
    "I went really, really straight in a couple areas. It was really smooth and I was able to carry it all the way down. The last big carousel turn I did perfectly -- I don't think I could do that again if I tried.
    "Hopefully this will keep going all year. My New Year's resolution is to do this more often."
    Nyman finished 15th, two spots better than Kjetil Jansrud of Norway. Jansrud, though, maintained his lead in both the downhill and overall standings.
    First win for Hector, too
    Ganong wasn't the lone racer to capture a maiden victory Sunday, as Sweden's Sara Hector triumphed in a women's giant slalom in Kuhtai in Tirol, Austria -- new to the World Cup tour.
    In second heading into the final run behind American Mikaela Shiffrin, Hector attacked the course and made up the 0.27-second deficit.
    Austria's Anna Fenninger moved up to second, with Shiffrin -- whose specialty is the slalom -- dropping to third.
    "It's not easy to put words on such emotions right now," Hector was quoted as saying by the FIS website. "To be on top of the podium is so special."
    Fenninger solidified her spot in second in the overall standings behind Tina Maze -- who tied for seventh Sunday.
    Fenninger is also second in the giant slalom standings, trailing compatriot Eva-Maria Brem.
    A lack of snow in Semmering, Austria, prompted the move to Kuhtai in Tirol.