Steven Nyman records Val Gardena hat trick (video)

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Three-time U.S. Olympian Steven Nyman notched his third World Cup win Friday at the same venue as his previous two — the Saslong downhill in Val Gardena, Italy.

Nyman, 32, prevailed by .31 over Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud, the World Cup overall leader. Italian Dominik Paris was third.

“I’ve always felt comfortable here, from the first day I arrived in 2005,” said Nyman, who crashed in Val Gardena that first year. “I’ve actually crashed here as much as I’ve won. It treats me well, and sometimes it slaps me.”

Another American, Travis Ganong, took 13th. Ted Ligety, who rarely races downhill, and Bode Miller, out until January after back surgery, were not in the field.

Nyman won for the first time since Dec. 15, 2012. His maiden victory at Val Gardena was Dec. 16, 2006.

Nyman also finished third in a downhill in Beaver Creek, Colo., two weeks ago and appears to have found his form after a run of back, knee and Achilles tendon injuries and a slip to the U.S. “B” team due in part to fading results last season. He has to pay $20,000 to compete this season.

Now, Nyman is in second place in the World Cup downhill standings through three of a scheduled 10 races, trailing Jansrud by 105 points. That’s a big margin. A victory nets 100 points.

“I really hope I can carry it throughout the season and push for a title,” Nyman said. “Jansrud’s in such good shape, so I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me.”

Nyman, whose best Olympic finish was a tie for 19th in the Torino 2006 downhill, is the only U.S. man to make a speed-event podium this season.

He’ll try to make his first career super-G podium Saturday in Val Gardena.

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