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Aspen: Switzerland's Nadia Styger takes super G


Aspen: Switzerland’s Nadia Styger takes super GAt least for one day, Switzerland is back on top.

On a cloudless day in Aspen, Colorado, Switzerland’s Nadia Styger claimed a surprising victory in the Sirius Satellite Radio Winternational women’s super G. Running 10th, Styger skied aggressively, cutting off the line when possible, but was able to avoid costly mistakes in the numerous difficult sections of what might be the women’s tour most technical super G. Styger then waited in the finish to see if the world’s top super G skiers could knock her off the top. None did.

With solid results on the men’s side from the Didiers (Cuche and Defago), among others, and a strong second-place finish from Sylviane Berthod in a Lake Louise downhill, Styger’s win is just the latest, and best, sign of life from the much beleaguered Swiss team.

“It’s a great feeling,” Styger said. “After last year, it was not so easy for the whole team, and also for me. I’m very happy to give Switzerland a victory.”

While Styger was the story, the Austrians continued their quiet dominance. Three of them, Michaela Dorfmeister, Andrea Fischbacher and Alexandra Meissnitzer, immediately followed Styger in the results, and if three out of the top four isn’t enough, two more, Elisabeth Goergl (eighth)and Katja Wirth (ninth), gave the dominant squad five finishers in the top 10.

“It’s a good feeling,” said the 20-year-old Fischbacher, who notched her second consecutive super G podium. “We have a great team, I can learn so much from them. … I talk with everybody. In training, [I] learn from them.”

One of those veterans Fischbacher is learning the tricks of the trade from is Dorfmeister. This race is Dorfmeister’s fourth consecutive podium finish, and she sits atop the overall standings. All this on what will probably be her last year on the World Cup. “I’ll make a decision in spring time to say if it’s really my last year. In my mind, I’m [only] looking really straight ahead on my goals.”

“At this moment, I’m very happy with the World Cup,” Dorfmeister continued. “It’s my job. I like to be a competitor, I like the feeling in the start, a little nervousness, the pressure in the stomach. It’s a special feeling to know you can win or be on the podium.”

Kirsten Clark was the top American, in fifth, with Lindsey Kildow in seventh. The result is the season’s best for Clark, who is still recovering from a staph infection in her left knee after a routine scope on Sept. 1.

“The course is great,” said a satisfied, and decidedly upbeat Clark. “It’s on home soil and it’s a great tech course and I have great memories from my last super G here [fourth in 2002] and I’m psyched to be here and healthy and having a beautiful day.”

Kildow’s seventh wasn’t bad, but to her, it wasn’t good either. “I can ski a lot better,” she said. “…I feel like there’s a hump I have to break. I’m still not totally aggressive, 100 percent of the course.

“I don’t feel as confident in super G as last year,” she added. “I think I have more confidence in downhill. Right now I feel like I have more to steps to accomplish in super G. …Maybe I’m just saving stuff for the Olympics in super G.”

Libby Ludlow was not thrilled with her skiing, but nonetheless, her 20th-place finish was safely in the points. Also scoring was Bryna McCarty in 24th.

Julia Mancuso, racing on a new pair of boots after leaving her old pair in Lake Louise, finished 31st. “My race was just little mistakes everywhere,” she said. “I was taking too many risks and they didn’t pay off. I was going a little straighter and I didn’t set up for anything and I ended up slow and in the soft snow.”

Formerly tech-only, Kristina Koznick continued her sampling of super G, and finished a respectable 33rd.

The win is Styger’s second career victory, the other coming in a 2004 super G in Sestriere. That finish is the 26-year old’s (27 this Sunday) only other podium finish, and the last time a Swiss skier won a World Cup. After a strong 2004, which included her Sestriere victory, Styger struggled a bit with injuries last year. Her high point was actually in the Aspen GS last year, finishing sixth – one of only two top-10 finishes last year. This season, she already has three.

“For two years, I had very good years,” she said. “I had high expectations. [Then] I had accidents with my back and my knee. I learned very much.”

Coming into Aspen, Styger was confident the rolling, twisting course fit her style. “I like it when it’s a little bit difficult,” Styger said. “I’m not so good when it’s flat. I knew in the start if I had a good run, it could be good.”

Aspen notebook:
Styger is from Settel, a town in central Switzerland, calling it the “nicest part of the world.” She also mentioned that she missed her dog and three cats at home.

There were timing glitches in the middle of the first run, as a few racers’ times did not appear to stop as they came through the finish. Fischbacher and Isolde Kostner did not have times up on the board, but official standings had Fischbacher in third, and Kostner well back in 25th.

Caroline Lalive took a hard, airborne crash after skiing through a panel about 20 second into her run. She tore open her suit at the knee and was visibly limping on her left side, but she said she was OK. “I tried to cut the line too much,” Lalive said, “and I literally put my body inside the gate.”

Head women’s coach Patrick Riml said that if Lalive is too banged up to race in tomorrow’s GS, Ludlow will take her place.

Women’s super G
Aspen, Colo.,
Dec. 9. 2005

1. Nadia Styger, SUI 1:13.77
2. Michaela Dorfmeister, AUT 1:13.87
3. Andrea Fischbacher, AUT 1:14.01
4. Alexandra Meissnitzer, AUT 1:14.07
5. Kirsten Clark, USA 1:14.38
6. Genevieve Simard, CAN 1:14.50
7. Lindsey Kildow, USA 1:14.55
8. Elisabeth Goergl, AUT 1:14.59
9. Katja Wirth, AUT 1:14.61
10. Maria Riesch, GER 1:14.63
11. Emily Brydon, CAN 1:13.71
12. Anja Paerson, SWE 1:14.73
13. Renate Goetschl, AUT 1:14.78
14. Silvia Berger, AUT 1:14.90
15. Petra Haltmayr, GER 1:14.91
16. Carole Montillet, FRA 1:14.97
17. Janica Kostelic, CRO 1:14.98
18. Daniela Ceccarelli, ITA 1:15.00
19. Tina Maze, SLO 1:15.07
20. Libby Ludlow, USA 1:15.11
21. Martina Ertl-Renz, SLO 1:15.16
22. Maria Jose Rienda, SPA 1:15.23
23. Ingrid Jacquemod, FRA 1:15.27
24. Isolde Kostner, ITA 1:15.38
24. Bryna McCarty, USA 1:15.38
26. Kathrin Wilhelm, AUT 1:15.48
27. Marlies Schild, AUT 1:15.49
28. Fraenzi Aufdenblatten, SUI 1:15.52
29. Jessica Lindell, SWE 1:15.56
30. Sylvaine Berthod, SUI 1:15.75
Other North Americans:
31. Julia Mancuso, USA 1:15.76
33. Kristina Koznick, USA 1:15.91
35. Allison Forsyth, CAN 1:16.02
40. Stacey Cook, USA 1:16.40
DNS: Brigitte Acton, CAN.
DNF: Kelly Vanderbeek, CAN; Caroline Lalive, USA.

THE SCOOP
By Hank McKee

Equipment
Women’s Super G, Aspen, Colo., Dec. 9, 2005

Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1. Styger, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
2. Dorfmeister, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
3. Fischbacher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4. Meissnitzer, Volkl/Fischer/Marker
5. Clark, Fischer/Salomon/Marker
6. Simard, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
7. Kildow, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
8. Goergl, Blizzard/Lange/Marker
9. Wirth, Blizzard/Lange/Marker
10. Riesch, Head/Lange/Tyrolia

Women’s world Cup Super G, Aspen, Colo., Dec. 9, 2005. … It is the fifth race of the women’s 34 race, 2 combined World Cup schedule. … The second of eight scheduled super G’s. … It is the first of a three-race stand at A
spen.

It is the second career win for Nadia Styger, both in SG. … It is the first win for a Swiss skier since March 11, 2004 (Styger SG Sestriere). … Styger has been sixth and 18th in the two downhills held and fifth and first in the SG’s. … She is two days shy of her 27th birthday. … hails from Sattel.

It is the 56th career podium for Michaela Dorfmeister. … Her 21st in SG. … It is her fourth podium of the season in five races. … She won the Aspen SG Nov. 24, 2000. … She is 32, from Neusiedl.

It is the second career podium for Andrea Fischbacher. … And second in five days, having finished second at Lake Louise Dec. 4. … She is 20 years of age from Eben.

It is the 15th career top-five result for Kirsten Clark. … And her first top five since January 2004. …. She has been fifth and seventh in the two SG’s held this season. …It is the seventh top-six career result for Genevieve Simard. … Four of them in SG the rest in GS. … It is her best result of the season, having been ninth in the GS opener at Soelden Oct. 22 and 11th in the Lake Louise SG Dec. 4. … Seventh matches Lindsey Kildow’s 18th-best career finish. … In four races completed this season, she has no finish worse than seventh. … It is the 14th time Emily Brydon has finished a World Cup in the top 11. … It is her first scoring result of the season. … It is the 13th top-20 result for Libby Ludlow. … Her second scoring result of the season. …It is the 17th career scoring result for Bryna McCarty. … Her first of the season. … Julia Mancuso missed scoring a point by a hundredth of a second.

Michaela Dorfmeister leapfrogs back over Alexandra Meissnitzer into the World Cup overall point lead 289-260. … Lindsey Kildow holds third at 221. … Meissnitzer maintains the SG standings leads 150-145 over Styger. … Fischbacher is third at 140. … Kirsten Clark in the top American in fifth place at 81 with Kildow sixth at 76. … Winning margin is a tenth of a second. … Top 12 racers are within the same second. … Entire scoring field of 30 within two seconds.

Clarky back after staph infection; finishes fifth in Aspen super GMichael Walchhofer wins Val d'Isere training run; Justin Johnson fifth

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