CHORLEY’S Dave Ryding said he ‘never stopped believing’ have becoming the first British alpine skier to win a World Cup gold medal with victory in the men’s slalom in Kitzbuhel.

The 35-year-old surged from sixth place after the first run to finish first, 0.38 seconds in front of Norway’s Lucas Braathen with another Norwegian, Henrik Kristoffersen, in third.

Ryding, a member of Pendle Ski Club, said: “I’m 35 now, but I never stopped believing, I never stopped trying, and to bring the first victory for Great Britain in a World Cup, in Kitzbuhel, I don’t know if dreams are made better.”

Ryding’s victory, one day after he was confirmed in the team for his fourth Winter Olympics in Beijing next month, also makes him the oldest winner of a men’s World Cup slalom race.

Ryding had previous success at Kitzbuhel, having become the first British alpine skier to reach a World Cup podium in 36 years when he took silver in the World Cup in 2017.

And at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Ryding, who started skiing on a 50-metre dry slope above Pendle in Lancashire, finished ninth to secure Britain’s best alpine result at a Games in 30 years.

Ryding won a World Cup bronze medal in Adelboden in January, and had made a promising start to his Olympic season when he finished fifth in Val d’Isere in December.

He recently confirmed the Beijing Games will be his last, and told the PA news agency: “I’ll be honest, I don’t really think about legacy.

“I’m proud of my story because it’s certainly never been done the way I’ve done it before.

“But I think you’re judged on the way the next generation perceives you. I remember watching Alain Baxter and thinking he was God. If kids think the same of me and can dream of doing a similar thing, all the better.”