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Lake Louise: Austrians sweep super G; U.S. lands 5 in top 15

Lake Louise: Austrians sweep super G; U.S. lands 5 in top 15LAKE LOUISE – Wily Austrian veteran Alexandra Meissnitzer mastered the Lake Louise super G to top her compatriots, 20-year-old Andrea Fischbacher and fellow veteran Michaela Dorfmeister, in an Austrian sweep of the podium.

In a dazzling display of speed and aggression, Meissnitzer posted a time of 1 minnute, 21.73 seconds to edge the youngster Fischbacher by .10 seconds. Dorfmeister, who had already made podium appearances in the previous two races, was closing fast on the lower sections of the course, but still fell .83 seconds in arrears of her teammate.

The downhill winner from the previous day, American Lindsey Kildow, finished sixth, missing the podium by half a second, but she led a strong American contingent of five racers into the top 14. Kirsten Clark continued her remarkable recovery from an infected knee to place seventh, only .03 off Kildow, while Libby Ludlow and Caroline Lalive, who are bouncing back from injuries, nabbed 10th and 13th. Julia Mancuso trailed Kildow by only a half-second and finished in a tie for 14th.

At the postrace press conference, Meissnitzer was glowing with satisfaction. ‘It’s priceless to start a season really well’ said Meissnitzer. ‘It takes away the pressure and it’s also big in qualifying for the Olympics.’
           
Meissnitzer had one more reason to feel good about her performance. She won here in 1998, only to severely injure her knee the following year. ‘I injured my knee and wasn’t sure I could continue skiing. That’s why this is something special. I like to come here; it’s such a perfect place. It’s been a long time since my last win here.’

The veteran Meissnitzer was smooth and collected on the course. ‘I just tried to ski smart and not risk a lot’ said Meissnitzer, which was in marked contrast to Fischbacher.

Fischbacher seemed to take every risk and on several occasions nearly skied off-course. When asked if her high-risk approach was by choice or if it just happened that way, the shy youngster smiled and said in halting English, ‘It was by choice, but it also just happened that way.’

Sitting between her legendary teammates Meissnitzer and Dorfmeister, Fischbacher, winner of last year’s overall Europa Cup, expressed her desire to one day follow in their footsteps.

The Austrian team swept the podium, but the North Americans made their presence known. Add Canadian Gen Simard in 11th to the mix and the U.S./Canadian squads landed six out of the top 14.

Kildow, in sixth, was kicking herself for not being more aggressive, but Clark couldn’t have been more pleased about coming in just behind Kildow. Racer after racer made a point of sliding over to Clark to offer congratulations. Her seventh was her best result since a devastating knee injury in January 2004. ‘Each day is getting better and better’ said Clark. “I’m not 100 percent, but its getting better. After yesterday when I was close, it gave me confidence. So I’m trying to build off every little thing.’

Ludlow’s 10th place represents her best-ever scoring finish and it couldn’t have come at a better time. ‘I don’t think people really understand what I’ve been through with my knee’ said Ludlow. ‘The progress I’ve made in the past eight months is incredible. To compete on these kinds of conditions without any knee pain is the coolest thing ever. I’m so excited.’

Also on the rebound from a painful setback is Lalive. A sprained MCL and hamstring kept Lalive off skis from mid-October until just one week prior to these races. The first two downhills at Lake Louise did not offer much encouragement, but a solid 13th place changed that. ‘I’m definitely happy. This was certainly better than the last few days.’

The team will stay over in Calgary and then head to Colorado for the races as Aspen. As for the mood of the team, Ludlow noted, ‘Success in contagious. We look forward to the season.’

Women’s super G
Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada
Dec. 4, 2005

1. Alexandra Meissnitzer, AUT 1:21.73
2. Andrea Fischbacher, AUT 1:21.83
3. Michaela Dorfmeister, AUT 1:22.56
4. Martina Ertl-Renz, GER 1:22.65
5. Nadia Styger, SUI 1:22.89
6. Lindsey Kildow, USA 1:23.09
7. Kirsten Clark, USA 1:23.12
8. Marlies Schild, AUT 1:23.20
9. Elisabeth Goergl, AUT 1:23.23
10. Libby Ludlow, USA 1:23.35
11. Genevieve Simard, CAN 1:23.37
12. Carole Montillet-Carles, FRA 1:23.40
13. Caroline Lalive, USA 1:23.45
14. Chimene Alcott, GBR 1:23.54
14. Julia Mancuso, USA 1:23.54
16. Ingrid Jacquemod, FRA 1:23.56
17. Kelly Vanderbeek, CAN 1:23.57
18. Jessica Lindell-Vikarby, SWE 1:23.58
19. Silvia Berger, AUT 1:23.59
20. Elena Fanchini, ITA 1:23.60
21. Isolde Kostner, ITA 1:23.64
22. Janica Kostelic, CRO 1:23.68
23. Sylvaine Berthod, SUI 1:23.72
24. Janette Hargin, SWE 1:23.73
25. Kathrin Wilhelm, AUT 1:23.82
26. Daniela Ceccarelli, ITA 1:23.84
27. Katja Wirth, AUT 1:23.87
28. Nadia Fanchini, ITA 1:23.92
29. Catherine Borghi, SUI 1:23.95
30. Tina Maze, SLO 1:23.96
Other North Americans:
34. Shona Rubens, CAN 1:24.15
35. Emily Brydon, CAN 1:24.19
37. Kristina Koznick, USA 1:24.27
40. Sherry Lawrence, CAN 1:24.57
42. Allison Forsyth, CAN 1:24.60
43. Bryna McCarty, USA 1:24.67
49. Stacey Cook, USA 1:25.25
DNS: Jonna Mendes, USA.

THE SCOOP
By Hank McKee

Equipment
Women’s super G, Lake Louise, Dec. 4, 2005

Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1. Meissnitzer, Volkl/Fischer/Marker
2. Fischbacher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
3. Dorfmeister, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4. Ertl-Renz, Rossignol/Nordica/Rossignol
5. Styger, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
6. Kildow, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
7. Clark, Fischer/Salomon/Marker
8. Schild, Atomic/Lange/Atomic
9. Goergl, Blizzard/Lange/Marker
10. Ludlow, Fischer/Salomon/Fischer

Women’s super G, Lake Louise, Alberta, Dec. 4, 2005. … It is the fourth race of the women’s 34 race, 2 combined World Cup schedule. … It is the first of eight scheduled super G’s. … It is the final race of a three-race set (for the women) at Lake Louise. …

It is the 14th career World Cup win for Alexandra Meissnitzer. … Her 7th SG win, the last being Dec. 11, 2004, at Altenmarkt. … It is her third win since 1999. … She won the Lake Louise SG Nov. 29, 1998. … She is 32 from Abtenau. …

It is the first career World Cup podium for Andrea Fischbacher. … She has eight World Cup scoring results, all within the calendar year. … She is less than a month into her 20th year, hails from Eben. … Was Europa Cup overall champion last season. …

It is the 55th career podium for Michaela Dorfmeister. … Her 22nd third-place finish. … It is her third podium of the season in four races. … It is her 20th SG podium.

It is the 15th top-five result for Lindsey Kildow, all since January 2004. … She has been in the top six of each of the three Lake Louise races this season. … And in all six Lake Louise races held this season and last. … It is the 17th career top-seven result for Kirsten Clark. … It is her best result since Jan. 8, 2004, when she finished fifth in Cortina DH. … It is the first career top 10 for Libby Ludlow, the previous best being 11th in SG at Are Feb. 21, 2004. … It is the 14th top-11 placing for Genevieve Simard, half of them in SG. … It is the first result of the season for Caroline Lalive. … Her best result since last Jan. 16. … It is the sixth-best SG result of Julia Mancuso’s career. … She has scored in all four women’s races held to date. … It is the third scoring result of the season for Kelly Vanderbeek, all coming at Lake Louise.

Alexandra Meissnitzer claims the World Cup overall point lead 210-209 over Michaela Dorfmeister. … Lindsey Kildow is third at 185. …
As it is the first SG of the season, the top three in the standings reflect the race result: Meissnitzer 100, Fischbacher 80 and Dorfmeister 60. The top four skiers are within the same second. … Top 24 within two seconds.

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