Bad Kleinkirchheim: Kostelic wins first World Cup downhill


Bad Kleinkirchheim: Kostelic wins first World Cup downhill{mosimage}BAD KLEINKIRCHHEIM, Austria – Janica Kostelic could walk away with three gold medals again at the upcoming Olympics – if her recent World Cup form is anything to go by.

The Croat claimed her first World Cup downhill victory on Saturday. Three weeks ago, she broke through for her maiden giant slalom win.

She has won those events at the Olympics or worlds, but never before on skiing’s regular circuit.

Nonetheless, Kostelic blots out thoughts of another triple gold performance – such as the ones at the Salt Lake Olympics or last year’s World Championships.

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

However, the 24-year-old Croatian admitted two days ago she can’t escape the expectations. Thoughts of the Torino Games, starting Feb. 10, do creep into her head.

Kostelic clocked 1 minute, 37.96 seconds in winning her first downhill and 23rd World Cup race.

She finished .17 seconds ahead of Sweden’s Nike Bent, who was comfortably ahead until caught by the Kostelic. Austrian Michaela Dorfmeister was third in 1:38.53.

Outside of her gold at the worlds in Bormio, Italy, Kostelic’s best downhills had been two second placings in the World Cup last season.

”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.”

She picked up her first World Cup giant slalom victory at Spindleruv Myln in the Czech Republic. Now she hopes for a third breakthrough – winning her first super G race ever.

The race will be held Sunday on the same slope she won Saturday’s downhill.
But Kostelic pointed out that she had five runs down the hill to adjust to the Franz Klammer slope, including a downhill Friday, practices and qualifying. The course will be laid out new for Sunday’s super G.

”It’s a big question mark,” Kostelic said. ”Maybe the super G comes next. I can’t see the future.”

Kostelic is the runaway leader in the season overall standings over longtime rival Anja Paerson with 882 points to the Swede’s 685.

Kostelic was fourth in Friday’s downhill, finishing just .09 behind Paerson, the winner.

Bent, an early starter, gained her first podium after bolting out the gate and taking the first curve much faster than anyone else. No one was even close to her quick start – until Kostelic.

”As everyone came down slower than me, I thought I had done a good thing and might win,” said Bent, 24. ”Then came Kostelic – she was too fast.”

Kostelic attacked the slope aggressively. At one point, she 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.

The Americans struggled on the revamped Franz Klammer slope, hosting its first World Cup since 1997. All season they have been the best downhill team behind the Austrians.

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.

The last downhill at France’s Val d’Isere was a 1-2 American finish with Kildow ahead of Caroline Lalive.

This time Lalive didn’t crack the top 30 in either downhill, while Kildow posted poor times all week and was ninth Friday.

”I can’t speak for anybody else,” Lalive said of the Americans’ problems. ”I just struggled at the top. When you hit the flat, there isn’t any place to catch up. It’s disappointing, but I will try to put it behind me and concentrate on the super
G.”

- The 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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