ASPEN, Colo. â€” Peter Fill didn’t win a downhill race all season. No matter, since ever so steady works, too.
The Italian racer retained his overall downhill title Wednesday by finishing second to teammate Dominik Paris at World Cup Finals. Manuel Osborne-Paradis just missed the podium with a fourth-place finish while Canadian teammate Erik Guay was sixth.
Fill entered the day trailing Kjetil Jansrud of Norway by 33 points in the standings, but used a consistent run to overtake Jansrud, who wound finished 11th. Fill ended up capturing the title by 23 points during a season in which he wound up on the downhill podium five times, only never on the top step.
That is, until Wednesday, when he accepted the crystal globe for the season title and jumped into the air to punctuate the moment.
“He’s Mr. Consistent,” said Jansrud, who won the downhill title in 2014-15. “That’s how you win globes.”
Paris was the first racer out of the starting gate â€” a strategic move in the warm conditions â€” and finished in one minute 33.07 seconds. No one would be able to catch him. Fill was 0.08 seconds behind and Carlo Janka of Switzerland took third.
Osborne-Paradis, from Invermere, B.C., was seven-100ths of a second behind Janka in 1:33.32.
“I had some great training runs and I really did feel like I had a shot,” Osborne-Paradis said.
Adrian Theaux of France was fifth in 1:33.36. Guay, from Mont-Tremblant, Que., finished in 1:33.38.
“I know that it would be warm, so a good decision to take No. 1,” said Paris, who won the downhill in January in Kitzbuehel, Austria. “I was pushing so hard when I could.”
The same strategy was employed by Fill on a course that was hosting a World Cup men’s race for the first time since 2001.
“Not so easy, of course, to make a great run, a great race,” Fill said. “It was a great performance from the whole team. We picked up the globe. We are a strong team that works in the right direction. I hope we can continue on this way.”
Jansrud was the fifth racer out of the gate and when he saw his place â€” fifth â€” at the finish, he knew a title wasn’t going to happen. He watched the competition unfold on the video screen, leaning on his ski poles, as he hoped a couple of racers could knock Fill from the podium.
No one could. Janka made an impressive charge at No. 16 to earn third.
“I wasn’t even nervous watching, because I knew this was done,” said Jansrud, who’s already sewn up the super-G title heading into Thursday’s competition. “You just get the feeling. With the snow kind of getting warmer and warmer, no other guys were able to threaten.
“Just (have to) work harder. Even if I had won it, I would’ve worked harder. You want to try to get better every year.”
Guay finished fifth in the overall downhill standings while Osborne-Paradis was 11th.
“I’m skiing in a place where I can put myself on a podium most weekends,” Osborne-Paradis said.
With files from The Canadian Press.
Pat Graham, The Associated Press