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Lake Louise: Elena Fanchini, a winner in first Lake Louise DH, three Americans in the top eight


Lake Louise: Elena Fanchini, a winner in first Lake Louise DH, three Americans in the top eightItaly’s Elena Fanchini showed experience really doesn’t matter by winning the first downhill of the season at Lake Louise in her first visit to the area. The 20-year-old Italian World Championship silver medalist ran out of the 30th slot to post a winning time of 1.49.33 to nudge Austrian veterans Michaela Dorfmeister (1.49.43) and Alexandra Meissnitzer (1.49.61) to second and third.         

Lindsey Kildow, last year’s race winner, had been shivering in the winners circle in the near-zero temperatures after running 16th, only to be bumped to second by her teammate Julia Mancuso. But the promise of one-two U.S. finish was short-lived when the last three racers to go in the top-30 group took over the top three spots, leaving Mancuso and Kildow in fourth and fifth. Rookie, Stacey Cook’s 10th-place finish gave the Americans three in the top ten to keep pace with the Austrians. 

Mancuso was dislodged from the podium by the last racer, but Mancuso was still pleased with her result.  ‘It’s sweet’ exclaimed Mancuso. ‘I wasn’t very confident coming in because my first two training runs were 50th and 55th or something. My skis were running but I got in the soft snow a few times and felt my skis decelerate. I was pretty surprised when I went through the finish. The speed is there; I just have to execute a lot better.’

Also looking to clean up her act is Kildow. ‘I just didn’t ski my best; there is always room for improvement’ said Kildow. ‘I probably lost half a second on the bottom section today and that half-second would have meant second place. I’m happy with my skiing it’s a matter of putting it down there.’

Mancuso and Kildow were joined in the top 10 by another 21 year-old American who had reporters scrambling for the USST Media Guide Stacey Cook. She gave hint of her prowess with a sixth in the final training run, but as she noted after that run, ‘It really doesn’t matter where you finish in training.’

Cook was still pulling off the frostbite protective tape on her face with whiskers drawn on it as she reflected on the importance of coming through in the race. ‘This was a huge confidence boast for me today and hopefully it will set me up for the rest of the season. I’m really happy and hopefully it’s a learning experience that I can build off.’  

Race winner, Fanchini is on an even steeper learning curve. She had only raced in a few downhills last season before stunning the skiing world with a silver medal at the World Championships. However she was the one stunned by her own success on this day. ‘Winning the silver medal at World Championships and here today, my success is difficult to explain.  But I’m totally surprised; I came onto the World Cup this winter, with the goal to learn and increase experience. So I can’t really explain winning this race.’

The short, stout Italian youngster with the big smile continued to charm the post race press conference with her easy going demeanor and ability to reduce a complex sport to its simplest common denominator. Fanchini noted through a translator, ‘I don’t care what number I have, I just want to go fast.’  

Fanchini was able to do just that right from the first training run. ‘I really loved it from the first minute. It’s a very nice downhill with gliding sections, technical sections, turns, and I have good skis, so it’s the perfect course for me’ said Fanchini, who looks forward to the two remaining races. ‘I’m happy so I’ll have no problem being relaxed for tomorrow’s races’ said Fanchini with a huge grin.

Women’s downhill
Lake Louise, Alberta
Dec. 2, 2005

1. Elena Fanchini, ITA 1:49.33
2. Michaela Dorfmeister, AUT 1:49.43
3. Alexandra Meissnitzer, AUT 1:49.61
4. Julia Mancuso, USA 1:50.00
5. Lindsey Kildow, USA 1:50.05
6. Nadia Styger, SUI 1:50.23
7. Ingrid Rumpfhuber, AUT 1:50.24
8. Sylvaine Berthod, SUI 1:50.40
9. Nike Bent, SWE 1:50.43
10. Stacey Cook, USA 1:50.49
11. Elisabeth Goergl, AUT 1:50.60
12. Janica Kostelic, CRO 1:50.63
13. Isolde Kostner, ITA 1:50.66
14. Nadia Fanchini, ITA 1:50.73
15. Shona Rubens, CAN 1:50.76
16. Karen Blaser, USA 1:50.79
17. Renate Goetschl, AUT 1:50.85
18. Daniela Ceccarelli, ITA 1:50.89
19. Janette Hargin, SWE 1:51.10
20. Isabelle Huber, GER 1:51.37
21. Tina Maze, SLO 1:51.39
22. Marlies Schild, AUT 1:51.42
23. Carole Montillet-Carles, FRA 1:51.43
24. Carmen Casanova, SUI 1:51.44
25. Chimene Alcott, GBR 1:51.46
26. Katja Wirth, AUT 1:51.47
26. Kelly Vanderbeek, CAN 1:51.47
28. Sherry Lawrence, CAN 1:51.66
28. Brigitte Obermoser, AUT 1:51.66
28. Fraenzi Aufdenblatten, SUI 1:51.66
Other North Americans:
31. Allison Forsyth, CAN 1:51.68
38. Emily Brydon, CAN 1:52.04
39. Caroline Lalive, USA 1:52.18
43. Kirsten Clark, USA 1:52.49
49. Jonna Mendes, USA 1:53.01
57. Bryna McCarty, USA 1:53.95
DNS: Genevieve Simard, CAN

THE SCOOP
By Hank McKee

Equipment
Women’s downhill, Lake Louise, Dec. 2, 2005

Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1. Fanchini, Dynastar/Lange/Look
2. Dorfmeister, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
3. Meissnitzer, Volkl/Tecnica/Marker
4. Mancuso, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
5. Kildow, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
6. Styger, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
7. Rumpfhuber, Fischer/Lange/Fischer
8. Berthod, Dynastar/Lange/Look
9. Bent, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
10. Cook, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol

World Cup women’s downhill, Lake Louise, Alberta, Dec. 2, 2005. … It is the seventh race of the 2005-06 World Cup season. … It is the second race of the women’s 34 race, 2 combined season. … The first of 8 scheduled downhills. … It is the first of two back to back downhills and the first of 3 races on the Lake Louise schedule. … It is the third of five races slated for Lake Louise this season, with the men having completed two.

It is the first career win for Elena Fanchini. … She owns four career scoring results, all of the other three being 17th-place finishes. … All of them are since Jan. 6, 2005. … She is 20 years old from Monte Campione.

It is the 53rd career podium for Michaela Dorfmeister. … Her 17th in DH. … It is her sixth podium result at Lake Louise dating back to Nov. 29, 2001. … She has 29 Lake Louise scoring results in her career. … She is 32.

It is the 39th career podium for Alexandra Meissnitzer. … Her seventh in DH. … It is her third podium at Lake Louise. … But the first since Nov. 29, 1998. …

The three podium finishers started consecutively, Dorfmeister in bib 28, Meissnitzer in bib 29 and Fanchini in bib 30. …

Julia Mancuso matched her career-best World Cup finish in 4th. … She has accomplished the placing in three additional World Cups, most recently in DH at Lenzerheide March 10, 2005. … It is the 14th career top-five placing for Lindsey Kildow. … Her only Cup win came on the same hill last season Dec. 3. … The 10th-place result is the first career scoring result for Stacey Cook. … She is 21 from Truckee, California. … It is also the first scoring result for Canadian Shona Rubens (15th). … She is 19 from Calgary. … It is the 14th career scoring result for Kelly Vanderbeek… The second for Sherry Lawrence, and the first in a race (was 26th in cmb in ’05). …Allison Forsyth just missed points in 31st place.

Tina Maze (finished 21st in race) remains the World Cup overall standings leader 110-102 over Janica Kostelic (finished 12th). … Elena Fanchini is third with 100 from the win in DH … Julia Mancuso is the top American, in a tie for fifth with 60. … Fanchini leads the DH standings after one race.

Top 7 racers are within the same second. … Top 19 within 2 seconds. … 2005 World Cup champio
n Anja Paerson was a DNF.

Beaver Creek: Americans sit 1, 3, 4 after first run of GSLake Louise: American Kirsten Clark on the mend

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