American skier Ganong leads Val Gardena downhill training

SELVA DI VAL GARDENA, Italy (AP) — Led by Travis Ganong, American skiers claimed three of the top five spots Wednesday in the opening training session for the Val Gardena downhill.

Ganong finished 0.68 seconds ahead of Austrian skier Max Franz, while teammate Bryce Bennett was third, 0.72 behind.

Italian veteran Christof Innerhofer was fourth, 0.73 behind, and Thomas Biesemeyer of the United States was fifth, 0.78 behind.

Ganong has won two World Cup downhills in his career, in Santa Caterina, Italy, in November 2015; and in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, in January 2017. He missed the second half of last season, including the Pyeongchang Olympics, with a right knee injury.

Steven Nyman, the American who has won the Val Gardena downhill three times and who is also returning from a knee injury, placed 10th in training.

Another training session is scheduled for Thursday, followed by a super-G race Friday and the downhill race Saturday.

Meanwhile, the International Ski Federation announced that two races canceled earlier this season because of bad weather will be made up in Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria, next week: a giant slalom and a slalom on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

The GS was originally scheduled to be the season opener in Soelden, Austria, in October, while the slalom was originally scheduled for Val d’Isere, France, last weekend.