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Bad Kleinkirchheim: Kostelic takes command with first career DH victory

Bad Kleinkirchheim: Kostelic takes command with first career DH victory{mosimage}BAD KLEINKIRCHHEIM, Austria – Look out World Cup field, triple Olympic champion Janica Kostelic has made another breakthrough.

After winning her first career World Cup giant slalom at Spindleruv Myln in the Czech Republic three weeks ago, the overall World Cup leader made her second breakthrough of the season on Saturday by winning the first World Cup downhill race of her career.

Kostelic clocked 1 minute, 37.96 seconds to finish .17 seconds ahead of Sweden’s Nike Bent, who led comfortably until caught by Kostelic. Michaela Dorfmeister of Austria was third in 1:38.53.

Kostelic won downhill gold at the 2005 world championships, but had never done better than two second-place finishes last year in World Cup races.

“It’s not the happiest day of my career, but one of the happiest,” Kostelic said. “For a Croatian like me, we don’t have any place to train downhill. It’s not surprising I win slalom, but not downhill.”

On Sunday, she will chase her first World Cup super G triumph at the same Franz Klammer slope where she won Saturday’s downhill.

“Maybe the super-G comes next. I can’t see the future,” Kostelic said. “I will take it as it comes.”

The 24-year-old is now the runaway leader in the season overall standings and a threat to take home multiple golds again at the Torino Winter Olympics starting Feb. 10.

“I really don’t think about the Olympics, unless someone asks me,” Kostelic said. “I try to concentrate on the (World Cup) races – they are the best preparation.”

Kostelic was fourth in another downhill Friday on the same slope. She finished just .09 behind longtime rival Anja Paerson of Sweden, who also earned an Olympic boost with her second career downhill win.

Cheered on by hundreds of Croats who traveled to see her, Kostelic picked up her 23rd World Cup title Saturday.

Kostelic leads Paerson in the overall standings with 882 points to 685. The Swede sped straight through a sharp curve and did not finish Saturday.

Bent, an early starter, bolted out of the gate and took the first curve much faster than anyone else – until Kostelic.

Bent, 24, hung on to pick up her first podium after a career-best sixth in Friday’s downhill.

“As everyone came down slower than me, I thought I had done a good thing and might win,” Bent said. “Then came Kostelic – she was too fast.”

With Bent almost a half-second ahead of the field, Kostelic attacked the slope aggressively. At one point, Kostelic was forced to drop her hand in the snow to keep her balance as she pushed hard for speed on a slow slope.

“It wasn’t very speedy. I watched Bent and I thought I could finish second to her. I changed a lot from yesterday,” Kostelic said.

Lindsey Kildow of the United States finished 18th and lost the lead in the downhill standings to Dorfmeister. The Austrian has 312 points to Kildow’s 287.

None of the Americans did well on the dry, hard snow despite a strong downhill season second only to the Austrians.

Kildow won downhills at Lake Louise and Val d’Isere, but was ninth Friday. The 21-year-old struggled with poor times all week, including a 29th place in qualifying.

The redesigned Franz Klammer slope is hosting its first World Cup since 1997.

-Associated Press

Women’s Downhill
Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria
Jan. 14, 2006

1. Janica Kostelic, CRO 1:37.96
2. Nike Bent, SWE 1:38.13
3. Michaela Dorfmeister, AUT 1:38.53
4. Sylvaine Berthod, SUI 1:38.57
5. Fraenzi Aufdenblatten, SUI 1:38.91
6. Renate Goetschl, AUT 1:38.94
7. Jessica Lindell-Vikarby, SWE 1:39.08
8. Brigitte Obermoser, AUT 1:39.36
9. Daniela Merighetti, ITA 1:39.38
10. Nadia Styger, SUI 1:39.39
11. Lucia Recchia, ITA 1:39.41
12. Elisabeth Goergl, AUT 1:39.44
12. Catherine Borghi, SUI 1:39.44
14. Allison Forsyth, CAN 1:39.47
15. Julia Mancuso, USA 1:39.54
16. Alexandra Meissnitzer, AUT 1:39.57
17. Marlies Schild, AUT 1:39.63
18. Lindsey Kildow, USA 1:39.65
19. Silvia Berger, AUT 1:39.67
20. Petra Haltmayr, GER 1:39.75
21. Carmen Casanova, SUI 1:39.77
22. Kirsten Clark, USA 1:39.89
23. Carole Montillet-Carles, FRA 1:39.92
24. Andrea Fischbacher, AUT 1:39.99
25. Ingrid Jacquemod, FRA 1:40.00
25. Emily Brydon, CAN 1:40.00
27. Elena Fanchini, ITA 1:40.27
28. Sherry Lawrence, CAN 1:40.33
29. Wendy Siorpaes, ITA 1:40.35
30. Katja Wirth, AUT 1:40.37
30. Ingrid Rumpfhuber, AUT 1:40.37
Other North Americans:
33. Caroline Lalive, USA 1:40.64
36. Stacy Cook, USA 1:40.93
40. Bryna McCarty, USA 1:41.20
42. Libby Ludlow, USA 1:41.46
DNF: Kelly Vanderbeek, Shona Rubens, CAN; Jonna Mendes, USA.

THE SCOOP

By Hank McKee

Equipment
Women’s DH, Bad Kleinkirchheim, Jan. 14, 2006

Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1. Kostelic, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
2. Bent, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
3. Dorfmeister, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4. Berthod, Dynastar/Lange/Look
5. Aufdenblatten, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
6. Goetschl, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
7. Lindell-Vikarby, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
8. Obermoser, Blizzard/Tecnica/Marker
9. Merighetti, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
10. Styger, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon

Women’s Downhill Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria, Jan. 14, 2006. … It is the 17th event of the women’s 34 race, two combined World Cup schedule. … It is the fifth of eight scheduled DH’s. … It is the second of two back-to-back DH’s at the site, and the second of a three race set scheduled at Bad Kleinkirchheim.

It is the 23rd career World Cup victory for Janica Kostelic. … Her first in DH. … She is missing only super G to have a win in each discipline. … She is one win behind Pernilla Wiberg for 12th all-time among women. She has two wins on the season, eight podiums and 11 top five finishes and 17 scoring results in 17 races.

It is the first career podium for Nike Bent. … And just her sixth career scoring result. … Her fifth of the season. … She is 24 from Funasdalen. … She is just the third Swedish woman in history to score a World Cup podium in DH, after Wiberg and Anja Paerson.

It is the 59th career podium for Michaela Dorfmeister and seventh of the season, all in DH or SG. … It is her second podium in two days. … She has only missed one DH podium all season.

It is the second career DH result for Allison Forsyth, and second in two days. … It is her third best result of the season in any discipline. … It is the 13th scoring result of the season for Julia Mancuso. … It is the worst DH result of the season for Lindsey Kildow. … She is the only woman with more than one DH win this season. … It is the seventh scoring result of the season for Kirsten Clark. … The sixth scoring result of the season for Emily Brydon. … It is the third score of the season and fourth career for Sherry Lawrence.

Janica Kostelic extends the World Cup overall point lead to 882-685 over Anja Paerson (DNF in race). … Michaela Dorfmeister sits third at 650. … Top American is Lindsey Kildow in fifth at 520. … Dorfmeister is the run-away DH standings leader 240-126 over Lindsey Kildow. … Sylvaine Berthod has emerged in third at 254. … Winning margin is .17 of a second, top six are within the same second, Top 23 within two seconds.

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