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Michael Walchhofer wins Garmisch downhill; Maier second; Miller third

Michael Walchhofer wins Garmisch downhill; Maier second; Miller thirdMichael Walchhofer of Austria, skiing almost flawlessly on the long Garmisch downhill course, won the first of this weekend’s three downhills today, adding 100 points to his leading position in the World Cup downhill discipline standings. Hermann Maier of Austria and Bode Miller of Franconia, N.H., were second and third, respectively.

“When I crossed the finish line, I expected a good time, but not like this,” said Walchhofer, who beat Maier by almost a second.

Walchhofer, who is 6 feet and 4 inches tall, also won the last World Cup downhill, at Wengen last month. In the world championship downhill, he was third behind two Americans.

Bode Miller made several big mistakes, including one on the last difficult turn of the course. “It’s a really painful place to make a mistake like that,” said Miller. “I went way out into the soft stuff, and brought it around. There were a lot of guys who crash right there, so I was happy obviously to bring it around. But the speed goes away so fast, and the distance I travelled was huge there.”

Among other Americans, Daron Rahlves was fifth, Scott Macartney 32nd and Justin Johnson 36th. Canadian Erik Guay was ninth.

“It’s been dumping all week,” said Rahlves, who was not pleased with the soft snow in yesterday’s training run. “I have to give it an eight out of ten today. If you get beaten by that much…and you’re in fifth, it’s not super satisfying, but it was a solid day.”

Snow was uncharacteristically soft for Garmisch, which is typically one of the iciest tracks on the tour. The winning time was 1:57.79, and the top recorded speed was 117.40 k.p.h, although World Cup organizers are discouraged from putting the speed traps in the fastest sections.

The race began at 1:45 p.m., an unusually late start-time. Organizers wanted to wait for an afternoon window during which there was no nordic racing underway. The Nordic skiing world championships have begun in Oberstdorf, Germany.

This downhill was relatively new to the schedule, having been added to make up for the downhill which was cancelled earlier this season at Kitzbuehel.

There are two more races on the calendar this weekend, the regularly-scheduled downhill and super G on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

World Cup

Men’s Downhill
Garmisch, Germany
Feb. 18, 2005

1. Michael Walchhofer, AUT 1:57.79
2. Hermann Maier, AUT 1:58.78
3. Bode Miller, USA 1:58.92
4. Johann Grugger, AUT 1:59.02
5. Daron Rahlves, USA 1:59.11
6. Fritz Strobl, AUT 1:59.24
7. Didier Defago, SUI 1:59.44
8. Andreas Schifferer, AUT 1:59.51
9. Erik Guay, CAN 1:59.57
10. Werner Franz, AUT 1:59.71
11. Benjamin Raich, AUT 1:59.85
12. Kristian Ghedina, ITA 1:59.88
13. Peter Fill, ITA 1:59.94
14. Bruno Kernen, SUI 2:00.03
15. Ambrosi Hoffmann, SUI 2:00.08
16. Juerg Gruenenfelder, SUI 2:00.18
17. Christoph Gruber, AUT 2:00.35
18. Silvan Zurbriggen, SUI 2:00.41
18. Mario Scheiber, AUT 2:00.41
20. Manuel Osborne`, CAN 2:00.46
21. Patrick Staudacher, ITA 2:00.47
22. Tobias Gruenenfelder, SUI 2:00.52
22. Patrik Jaerbyn, SWE 2:00.52
24. Max Rauffer, GER 2:00.69
25. Florian Eckert, GER 2:00.75
26. Alessandro Fattori, ITA 2:00.78
27. Stefan Johann Thanel, ITA 2:00.79
28. John Kucera, CAN 2:00.81
29. Finlay Mickel, GBR 2:00.90
30. Paul Accola, SUI 2:00.94
other North Americans:
32. Scott Macartney, USA 2:01.12
36. Justin Johnson, USA 2:01.36
39. Jeff Hume, CAN 2:01.38
42. David Anderson, CAN 2:01.87

THE SCOOP

By Hank McKee

equipment
Men’s DH, Garmisch, Germany, Feb. 18, 2005
Skier, skis/boots/binding
1 Walchhofer, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Maier, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
3 Miller, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4 Grugger, Head/Lange/Tyrolia
5 Rahlves, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
6 Strobl, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
7 Defago, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
8 Schifferer, Fischer/Lange/Fischer
9 Guay, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
10 Franz, Blizzard/Lange/Marker

Men’s Downhill, Garmisch, Germany, Feb. 18, 2005. … It is the 26th race of the men’s 35 race, two combined schedule. … It is the eighth of 11 scheduled downhills. … It is a replacement race for one lost at Kitzbuehel. … It is a large winning margin of a second from the final skier of the top seed. … Austrians have now won six of the last seven Garmisch DH’s. … And four straight Cup DH’s. … The last six first seed starters claimed the top six places.

It is the fifth career win for Michael Walchhofer. … third in DH. … It is his third Cup win of the season. … Second in DH. … He joins an illustrious list of Austrian racers to have won Garmisch, including Karl Schranz, Franz Klammer, Stephan Eberharter, Helmut Hoeflehner, Peter Wirnsberger, Hermann Maier and Andreas Schifferer.

It is the 86th career Cup podium for Hermann Maier. … His seventh of the season, eighth including Worlds. … It is his only DH podium this season and first in the discipline in more (2/14/04 St Anton) than a year. … In 10 career World Cup races at Garmisch he has never finished outside the top five.

It is the 36th career Cup podium for Bode Miller. … His fourth in DH. … It is his 11th podium of the season in addition to the two wins at Worlds. … He had Daron Rahlves are the only U.S. skiers to claim a podium result in DH at Garmisch.

It is the eighth top five of the season for Daron Rahlves, not including three from Worlds. … It is the fifth time this season he has finished fifth. … It is the best result of the season for Erik Guay in a World Cup. … His third best Cup result ever and his fourth top 10.

Miller maintains and extends the World Cup overall standings lead to 1153-1022 over Benjamin Raich (finished 11th) with 3 dh, 2 sl, 2 gs and 3 sg’s left to contest. … Rahlves is fifth on the overall list with 561pts. … Walchhofer leads the DH standings 531-438 over Miller with 3 races remaining. … Rahlves is fourth behind Johann Grugger (finished race 4th) with 309pts. … Austria leads the Nations Cup 10,303 to 4,758 for the U.S. … Austrian men lead 6184-2230 over Italy with the U.S. third at 2190.

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