Bad Kleinkirchheim: Women preparing for speed series in Austria


Bad Kleinkirchheim: Women preparing for speed series in Austria{mosimage}There’s more to the coming weekend than just the Lauberhorn and Bode Miller; the women’s World Cup will be in Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria, racing two downhills and a super G at an exciting new venue at the home mountain of Olympic great Franz Klammer.

Bad Kleinkirchheim has hosted World Cups before, of course (see below), but the new course there is said to be extremely difficult, one of the hardest on the women’s tour. ‘I’ve heard it’s pretty hard’ said Lindsey Kildow this fall. ‘Pretty technical, with a lot of flat light.’

Renate Goetschl went and hiked the course prior to the season, just to get a closer look at this track, which is named for Franz Klammer, perhaps the most revered of Austria’s many ski heroes.

‘I am very proud that a downhill was named after me’ said Klammer this fall at a news conference in Vienna. ‘This will really become one World Cup downhill that the ladies will talk about. They have always stressed that they must have more than easy downhills. That will not be the case here, because that becomes the most difficult departure in the lady calendar.”

The women won’t run off the super-steep pitch on the top of the hill, but they will run some tricky new sections that have been redesigned since the last time the women’s World Cup came through, in 1997, for a downhill and super G. ‘I’m psyched’ says Kildow. ‘I’ve always liked new courses.’

The last time the women’s tour went to Bad Kleinkichheim, by the way, the winners of the downhill and super G, respectively, were Heidi Zurbriggen (Switzerland) and Pernilla Wiberg (Sweden).

The first women’s World Cup races there were in 1978, when Cindy Nelson of the United States finished second in both of two downhills (the margins were 0.54 and 0.13).

1978:
Downhill 1: Annemarie Moser-Proell, Austria
Downhill 2: Annemarie Moser-Proell, Austria

1985:
Downhill 1: Michaela Figini, Switzerland
Downhill 2: Michaela Figini, Switzerland
Slalom: Christelle Guignard, France

1991:
Downhill: Katerina Gutensohn, Austria
Slalom: Pernilla Wiberg, Sweden

1997:
Downhill: Heidi Zurbriggen, Switzerland
Super G: Pernilla Wiberg, Sweden

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