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Americans find podium

Disabled World Cup opens with U.S. success

American Christopher Devlin-Young held off his former student Tyler Walker on Monday en route to winning the sit-ski class in the first of four Disabled World Cup events that will take place in Steamboat Springs this week.

“He used to be my coach before I was on the team,” Walker said. “So we have a little rivalry going there.”

Walker and Devlin-Young are now teammates and have come to an understanding when they are on the ski slope. Devlin-Young doesn’t offer much advice and Walker doesn’t ask. But the two remain good friends.

“He’s the only person I like to finish second to,” Walker said

Thanks to Devlin-Young and Walker, the Americans went 1-2 in the sit-ski class of the giant slalom race, which was held in wet conditions on the Sitz/ See Me racecourse at the Steamboat Ski Area. The warm, wet conditions caught many of the skiers in the men’s field off guard. The damp conditions fogged goggles making visibility difficult and the warm conditions resulted in tricky ruts that threw many skiers off course.

“I went early for the men’s mono-ski, but there were still big bumps,” Walker said. “I almost ate it twice on the first run, and that’s why I was second.”

Walker said the second run was smoother, but his goggles fogged making it difficult to find a good line. Still, he managed to ski well enough to take second with a combined time of 2 minutes, 13.37 seconds. His teammate Devlin-Young was first at 2:11.53, and German Martin Braxenthaler was third with a time of 2:17.10.

The sit-ski class is just one of three in the Disabled World Cup format. The athletes compete against one another in classes using a factor system that adjusts each skier’s time based on the severity of his disability. Other classes include the visually impaired and standing skier class.

In the visually impaired class, France’s Nicola Berejny and guide Sophie Troc finished first with a time of 2:07.65. Spain’s Jon Santacana and guide Miguel Galindo were second at 2:08.66, and the Canadian team of Chris Williamson and guide Robert Taylor were third at 2:10.20.

The only American in the class, Andy Parr, teamed up with his guide Tate Wilcox for the first time Monday, and the pair finished fifth with a time of 2:16.05.

Gerd Schonfelder of Germany won the standing class by racing to a time of 2:06.98. Austria’s Walter Lackner was second at 2:09.11 and France’s Romain Riboud was third with a time of 2:09.43.

The top American was George Sansonetis in fourth with a time of 2:13.42.

Monte Meier was seventh, Ralph Green placed 11th, and Reed Robinson was 14th.

“To have Chris and Tyler on the podium was a good thing for them,” coach Kevin Jardine said.’They struggled on the first run but then came through on the second run.”

The men’s Disabled World Cup will continue today with a second giant slalom at the Steamboat Ski Area. The men’s first run is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on the Sitz/See Me racecourse.

–To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com


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