People attend the opening ceremony of the 2017 FIS Alpine Skiing World Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, Monday, Feb. 6, 2017. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP)
AP Photo
February 07, 2017

ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (AP) Switzerland looked right at home at the ski world championships on Tuesday when Beat Feuz was fastest in a men's downhill practice.

Feuz, who won the World Cup downhill and super-G races in St. Moritz last March, was 0.21 seconds faster than Brice Roger of France as most rivals took a cautious first look at the course in perfect conditions.

Defending world champion Patrick Kueng was third fastest, 0.22 behind Swiss teammate Feuz.

Swiss skiers have had most access to the 2.84-kilometer (1-3/4 mile) Corviglia track. The home team also placed Mauro Caviziel seventh and Carlo Janka in a tie for ninth.

The United States team was unable to get expected training runs last month, but Jared Goldberg was fourth fastest Tuesday and Tommy Biesemeyer was sixth, within a half-second of Feuz.

''All the Swiss guys that train here, they have it dialed in already,'' said Travis Ganong, the American who was runner-up behind Kueng at the 2015 worlds in Beaver Creek, Colorado.

Ganong was 1.22 behind Feuz, in a tie for 18th place, after acknowledging some nerves on a course he saw last March when he was sixth in the World Cup finals race.

''When you're a little nervous, it's really good to heighten your focus. The jumps are not crazy, now we can think about going fast,'' Ganong said.

One racer suffered a serious neck injury after crashing in his run.

Martin Khuber of Kazakhstan was airlifted by helicopter to nearby Samedan, and then transferred to a hospital at Chur for surgery on an ''unstable neck fracture,'' race officials said. Khuber was said to be in a stable condition.

The 25-year-old Khuber, who wore starting bib No. 78, completed all three speed events at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and had a best finish of 33rd in combined.

Another downhill training session is scheduled for Thursday before Saturday's medal race.

Ganong will also compete in super-G on Wednesday, the race that opens the men's program. Hannes Reichelt of Austria is the defending champion.

Olympic super-G champion Kjetil Jansrud has won three of four World Cup races in the discipline this season, though he was fighting the effects of a cold and finished 11th fastest in the downhill practice.

While Norway has dominated the Olympic men's super-G, winning five of the past seven titles, the Nordic nation's winless run at worlds is eight. Lasse Kjus tied for super-G gold at the 1999 edition in Vail-Beaver Creek.

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