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Maier gets 50th career win, tying Tomba's mark; Rahlves on podium; Miller and Raich still locked

Maier gets 50th career win, tying Tomba’s mark; Rahlves on podium; Miller and Raich still lockedHermann Maier of Austria took his second win in two days on Sunday at Kvitfjell, tying Alberto Tomba on the career victory list. It is Maier’s 50th World Cup win, and third of the season. The Austrian champion, who won the Kitzbuehel super G in January, announced in the fall that he thought meeting Tomba’s mark was a good goal for the year.

“There are still chances to win some more,” said Maier, who is 32 years old. “I’m still younger than Tomba when he reached 50.” The two skiers are second on the list behind Ingemar Stenmark, who had 86 World Cup wins in the 1970s and 1980s.

Bode Miller finished fifth, and will now have more than just Benni Raich to think about next week at World Cup Finals. Miller now leads Raich by 52 points in the overall World Cup standings, but is a close second in both downhill and super G.

The super G is in play because Maier, with his Kvitfjell win, passed Miller at the top of the those standings. Maier has 424 points with one race remaining, and Miller has 370. That means that to take that crystal globe, Miller will have to win next week at Lenzerheide and Maier will have to finish worse than fourth.

“For me to win the overall I want to be winning these last races or I need at least to beat the other two guys because the margins are small now,” said Miller, according to the Associated Press. “My lead over Raich is really small. I need to be winning, so I’m going to manage the races with that in mind.”

Maier won the super G under sunny skies, crushing Switzerland’s resurgent Didier Defago by 0.83 seconds. Daron Rahlves was third, just five hundredths behind Defago.

With “Born in the U.S.A.” playing on the loudspeakers, Rahlves held his tuck and skied aggressively on the Kvitfjell track, where he won back-to-back World Cup downhills in 2000. As with Maier’s wins this weekend, the two races came within a span of less than 24 hours.

“I skied really well and I’m happy with that,” said Rahlves according to USSA news service. “It’s just that the win has been eluding all season long. Had some very close ones, a few seconds. It’s a little frustrating. I had big goals.”

Miller finished fifth, right behind Benjamin Raich, to whom Miller thus gave up five points in the quest for the sport’s most prestigious trophy, the overall World Cup title. Miller now leads by just 52 points.

For the American team, Kvitfjell is a special place; Tommy Moe won two Olympic medals here in 1994, and the American coaches traditionally set the super G course.

Last March, this was the mountain where Rahlves and Miller came to test Atomic skis; Rahlves decided to move onto the Atomic boot, and Miller decided to choose Atomic over the other brands he was testing: Rossignol, Nordica and Salomon.

For today’s race, the American coaches set a course that had athletes tucking for most of the first 40 seconds, then executing difficult turns as the track dropped into the dense Norwegian forests.

The two other Americans who started the race, Justin Johnson and Scott Macartney, finished 33rd and 37th, respectively. Their teammate Jakub Fiala announced his retirement last week.

A strong performance came from Erik Guay of Canada. Starting fifth, he crossed the line in first and held on to that position until bib number 25 (Defago) came down the hill.

Lines of blue dye, painted on the snow to give skiers a sense of the hill’s dimensions and terrain, stood out in the bright sunshine.

Michael Walchhofer, who leads the World Cup downhill standings, did not start the race, having reportedly hurt his knee while crashing in yesterday’s downhill. If he is unable to start the final downhill on Wednesday, he might give up the downhill discipline title to Miller — but only if Miller wins.

As far as official records are concerned, Maier and Tomba are now tied with 50 career wins — far short of the 86 won by Ingemar Stenmark. But in Maier’s own mind he has surpassed the Italian, because Maier still counts the 1997 race in France where he was disqualified for removing his ski too early after the race. He refers to that race as “my victory that was taken from me in Val d’Isere.”

There is no women’s World Cup this weekend, but the top female downhillers in the world are already in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, where the first training run for the final downhill of the year was cancelled because of bad weather.

The World Cup Finals begin there on Wednesday, with four races in five days for both men and women. Men and women will race on the same day. The downhill and super G are on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday is an off day. Then the season will conclude on the weekend, with men’s GS and women’s slalom on Saturday, March 12, and men’s slalom and women’s slalom on Sunday, March 13.

World Cup Super G
Kvitfjell, Norway
March 6, 2005

1. Hermann Maier, AUT 1:32.98
2. Didier Defago, SUI 1:33.81
3. Daron Rahlves, USA 1:33.86
4. Benjamin Raich, AUT 1:33.87
5. Bode Miller, USA 1:34.29
6. Erik Guay, CAN 1:34.40
7. Alessandro Fattori, ITA 1:34.49
8. Kristian Ghedina, ITA 1:34.56
8. Fritz Strobl, AUT 1:34.65
10. Andreas Schifferer, AUT 1:34.75
11. Mario Scheiber, AUT 1:34.80
12. Francois Bourque, CAN 1:34.81
13. Aksel Lund Svindal, NOR 1:34.83
14. Ambrosi Hoffmann, SUI 1:34.96
15. Silvan Zurbriggen, SUI 1:34.98
16. Patrick Staudacher, ITA 1:34.99
17. Florian Eckert, GER 1:36.12
18. Marco Buechel, LIE 1:35.13
19. Konrad Hari, SUI 1:35.17
20. David Poisson, FRA 1:35.19
21. Bjarne Solbakken, NOR 1:35.21
22. Matthias Lanzinger, AUT 1:35.25
23. Kjetil Andre Aamodt, NOR 1:35.26
24. Michael Gufler, ITA 1:35.29
25. Stephan Goergl, AUT 1:35.33
26. Yannick Bertrand, FRA 1:35.34
27. Manuel Osborne, CAN 1:35.40
28. Max Rauffer, GER 1:35.42
29. John Kucera, CAN 1:35.49
29. Finlay Mickel, GBR 1:35.49
29. Tobias Gruenenfelder, SUI 1:35.49
other North Americans:
34. Justin Johnson, USA 1:35.58
37. Scott Macartney, USA 1:35.72
46. Jeff Hume, CAN 1:36.53

THE SCOOP

By Hank McKee

equipment
Men’s Super G, Kvitfjell, Norway, March 6, 2005
Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Maier, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Defago, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
3 Rahlves, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4 Raich, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
5 Miller, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
6 Guay, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
7 Fattori, Fischer/Lange/Tyrolia
8 Ghedina, Fischer /Lange/Tyrolia
8 Strobl, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
10 Schifferer, Fischer/Lange/Fischer

Men’s Super G, Kvitfjell, Norway, March 6, 2005. … It is the 32nd event of the men’s 35 race, two combined World Cup schedule. … Four races, all at Finals, remain … One combined has been canceled. … It is the sixth of seven scheduled super Gs. … It is the 10th World Cup SG held at Kvitfjell dating to 3/21/93. … It is a large margin of victory at .83 of a second. … Just the top four are with a second of the winner.

It is the 50th career win for Hermann Maier, tying him with Alberto Tomba for second among men on the all-time World Cup win list. … Ingemar Stenmark leads that list with 86 victories. … It is the 21st career SG win for Maier. … He has more than twice as many SG wins as any other male competitor and 5 more than any skier of either gender. … It is his third Cup win (plus a gold medal at the World Championships) of the season and his second in two days. … It is his fifth career win at Kvitfjell and eighth podium. … He previously swept the Kvitfjell DH and SG in 2001. … It is his 9th victory since a life threatening 8/24/01 motorcycle accident.

It is the sixth career podium for Didier Defago. … The 4th in SG (2 others in combined). … It is the second time he has finished 2nd in SG at Kvitfjell (3/3/2000
). … It is his third podium of the season and matches his best result of the season in the SG at Garmisch 2/20. … It is the fifth second place finish this season for a Swiss skier. … No Swiss has won this season.

It is the 20th career podium for Daron Rahlves and his third of the season (plus a silver and bronze medal from the World Championships). … It is his fourth podium at Kvitfjell, the first 3 being wins, including his first and second in back-to-back DH’s in 2000. … He also won the 2004 DH.

It is the 53rd career top five result for Bode Miller. … It is his 18th top five of the season (plus two gold medals at World Championships). … Fifth matches his worst SG result of the season. It is his second best result ever at Kvitfjell, second only to fourth in the DH 3/5/05.

It is the second best career SG result for Benjamin Raich. … He has been fourth in four World Cup SG’s, including last season at Kvitfjell.

Sixth matches Erik Guay’s second best career result. … He was second at Lake Louise SG 11/29.03. … It is his best result this season. … It is the second best career result for Francois Bourque, bettered only by 3rd at Garmisch SG 2/20/05. … It is the fourth career scoring result for Manuel Osborne. … All of them since January 8. … It is the fourth career scoring result for John Kucera. … All of them since January 14.

Bode Miller maintains the lead in the overall World Cup standings by 52 points 1348-1296 over Benjamin Raich (4th in race). … Daron Rahlves in fifth at 804 is the next best American. … Thomas Grandi in ninth at 476 leads the Canadians. … There are four races, one in each discipline, remaining on the men’s schedule. … Hermann Maier has taken over the lead of the Super-G standings 424-370 for Miller. … Didier Defago moves into third at 266. … Rahlves is fourth at 262. … Francois Bourque in 13th with 111 leads the Canadians.

NOTE: Points were adjusted prior to the weekend to account for the suspension of Hans Knauss of Austria for use of the banned substance nandrolone, an anabolic steroid. … Six races were affected; the first two DH’s, the first 3 SG’s and the second GS. Knauss was removed from the records of those races.

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