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Ryan Cochran-Siegle ends U.S. men’s downhill podium drought

Ryan Cochran-Siegle is just 0.22 seconds off the pace, earning a second-place finish in the men's downhill in Val Gardena, Italy.

Ryan Cochran-Siegle ended the longest U.S. men’s downhill podium drought of this millennium by making his first World Cup podium in Val Gardena, Italy, on Saturday.

Cochran-Siegle, in his 99th career start, placed second behind World Cup overall champion Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway in the Dolomites.

Kilde prevailed by .22 over the American, who was followed by Swiss Beat Feuz, the three-time World Cup downhill season champion.

“Definitely surprised,” Cochran-Siegle said. “Big step for me today.”

Three more Americans were in the top 14, starting with Bryce Bennett in fourth. Full results are here.

The men race a giant slalom in Alta Badia on Sunday. TV and live stream information is here.

Cochran-Siegle became the first U.S. man to make a World Cup podium in a speed race -- downhill or super-G -- since Travis Ganong won a downhill in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, on Jan. 27, 2017.

The near-four-year gap between top-three finishes was the longest for the American men since Chad Fleischer in 1999 ended a near-four-year drought since AJ Kitt‘s second place in Bormio in 1995.

In the early 2000s, Daron Rahlves and then Bode Miller put U.S. men’s speed racing back on the map. It has been lean since the 2015 World Championships, where Miller raced for the last time (crashing out of the super-G) and Ganong earned the last medal, a downhill silver.

In 2018, the U.S. put zero in the top 10 of the Olympic men’s downhill for the first time since 1988. In 2017 and 2019, the U.S. men earned zero medals in any events at back-to-back world championships for the first time since 1997 and 1999.

Cochran-Siegle, the 2012 World junior downhill champion with ski racing in his genes, came into this week with one World Cup top-10 in a speed race, and that came on familiar snow in Beaver Creek, Colo.

On Friday, he posted a career-best super-G finish of eighth before Saturday’s bigger breakthrough at the same resort where his mom, Barbara Cochran, won a 1970 World slalom silver medal.

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