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St. Moritz: Dorfmeister goes back to back with downhill victory


St. Moritz: Dorfmeister goes back to back with downhill victory{mosimage}ST. MORITZ, Switzerland – Imminent retirement isn’t slowing Michaela Dorfmeister down.

The Austrian veteran clocked in with another stunner Saturday, blazing down St. Moritz’s 2,828-meter slicked-up Corviglia downhill track in a time of 1 minute, 43.76 seconds to claim her second World Cup victory of the long weekend. Dorfmeister’s perennial rivals, compatriot Renate Goetschl and current overall World Cup leader Janica Kostelic, completed the podium.

‘An amazing day for me – unbelievable. I’ve never won two races in 24 hours’ exclaimed a jubilant Dorfmeister.

A back-to-form Goetschl, who hugged her beaming, hootin’, hollerin’ teammate in the finish corral, also couldn’t conceal her joy, and a bit of relief: ‘I thought I had a good run today, a very good race and very fast skis. In the last week, the last month, it has not been normal for me to ski fast. [Now] I have good confidence back again.’

Following a less-than-stellar 15th place in yesterday’s super G, Kostelic had reason to celebrate alongside her podium partners. During a postrace press conference, the ever safety-conscious Croat an explained her prerace mindset to reporters; ‘We just had one training [run] and I usually don’t like that, I prefer two trainings. But today, before I started I was watching Kitzbuehel, and I thought, ‘Yeah, they’re really going there … [St. Moritz] is an easy downhill!’ “

Though the provisional lead rarely changed hands over the course of the top 30 skiers, lead times plummeted as the last few main contenders hit the hill. The crowd – large by Friday’s miniscule standards – waited in the Salastrains finish arena with baited breath as Switzerland’s Fraenzi Aufdenblatten, reigning overall World Cup champ Anja Paerson and Austria’s Alexandra Meissnitzer all one-upped each other, then exhaled en masse when Goetschl finally laid down a seemingly unsurpassable benchmark.

Unsurpassable, that is, until a slow-starting Dorfmeister came off the top flats to zero in on the course’s twisty latter half with pinpoint precision. ‘It’s not possible to go perfect to the first and second intermediate points’ confessed the tactical winner. ‘But I found a good line during inspection for the lower part and the last part [of the course] – it was the fastest line.’

Unlike Friday’s raggedy performance, the U.S. women all managed to get across the finish line Saturday, yet failed to ski their best. Lindsey Kildow, still chasing that elusive form that won her two World Cup downhills earlier this season, and an ever-improving Jonna Mendes were the only skiers to crack the top 30.

Libby Ludlow, the top U.S. finisher in Friday’s super G, couldn’t generate the sufficient speed needed to excel on the Corviglia piste’s gliding autobahn, settling in at a distant 43rd.

‘I skied well, I got a little bit low in one place, but downhill has been kind of that way for me this year,” Ludlow said. “I am skiing really technically solid and skiing well [but] it’s just hard to be fast being, a small girl on courses like these where there’s not much pitch to it really. It’s very much a glider’s course.

“A lot of the World Cup circuit has kind of become that way. It’s a little bit disappointing because it’s hard to be competitive when its just flat-out physics in the way’ the Bellevue, Washington, native said while smiling and signing autographs for a slew of Swiss children.

Today’s most spine-tingling moments of excitement were reserved for the end. In what proved to be a certified attack from the back, Swiss racers and late starters Martina Schild and Monika Dumermuth got the cowbells ringing, delighting the home crowd by finishing fifth and sixth, respectively, while Italy’s Wendy Siorpaes – the 71st competitor to take the hill – registered a near upset only minutes before the awards ceremony, setting the fastest splits at the first two checkpoints, before eventually finishing in an outstanding eighth place.

In the end, the day belonged to Dorfmeister. ‘I start in [tomorrow's] combined because I want to see how I stand in slalom. I try tomorrow my best’ she said while basking in the Engadine’s warm afternoon glow.

And though a third victory in as many days seems an unlikely task for the speed specialist, one thing is certain – fellow retirees might have a tough time beating her to the front of the early bird special line come April.

Women’s downhill
St. Moritz, Switzerland
Jan. 21, 2006

1. Michaela Dorfmeister, AUT    1:43.76
2. Renate Goetschl, AUT 1:43.83
3. Janica Kostelic, CRO 1:43.95
4. Alexandra Meissnitzer, AUT   1:44.01
5. Martina Schild, SUI  1:44.11
6. Monika Dumermuth, SUI        1:44.18
7. Anja Paerson, SWE    1:44.21
8. Wendy Siorpaes, ITA  1:44.31
9. Nicole Hosp, AUT     1:44.33
10. Carmen Casanova, SUI        1:44.62
11. Fraenzi Aufdenblatten, SUI  1:44.68
12. Catherine Borghi, SUI       1:44.74
13. Ella Alpiger, SUI   1:44.81
14. Nadia Fanchini, ITA 1:44.91
15. Lucia Recchia, ITA  1:44.93
16. Silvia Berger, AUT  1:44.94
17. Lindsey Kildow, USA 1:44.96
18. Shona Rubens, CAN   1:45.05
19. Jonna Mendes, USA   1:45.13
20. Emily Brydon, CAN   1:45.18
21. Sherry Lawrence, CAN        1:45.20
22. Janette Hargin, SWE 1:45.33
23. Brigitte Obermoser, AUT     1:45.34
24. Ingrid Rumpfhuber, AUT      1:45.37
25. Allison Forsyth, CAN        1:45.45
26. Andrea Fischbacher, AUT     1:45.54
27. Stefanie Stemmer, GER       1:45.55
28. Elisabeth Goergl, AUT       1:45.56
29. Clothilde Weyrich, FRA      1:45.60
30. Nadia Styger, SUI   1:45.63
Other North Americans:
32. Julia Mancuso, USA 1:45.79
43. Libby Ludlow, USA 1:46.28
48. Brigitte Acton, CAN 1:46.58
50. Kelly Vanderbeek, CAN 1:46.71
52. Bryna McCarty, USA 1:46.80
53. Stacey Cook, USA 1:47.11
58. Kirsten Clark, USA 1:47.44
60. Caroline Lalive, USA 1:47.63
DNS: Genevieve Simard, CAN.

THE SCOOP

By Hank McKee

Equipment
Women’s DH, St. Moritz, Jan. 21, 2006

Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1. Dorfmeister, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2. Goetschl, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
3. Kostelic, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
4. Meissnitzer, Volkl/Fischer/Marker
5. Schild, Volkl/Lange/Marker
6. Dumermuth, Fischer/Salomon/Tyrolia
7. Paerson, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
8. Siorpaes, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
9. Hosp, Volkl/Fischer/Marker
10. Casanova, Head/Head/Tyrolia

Women’s downhill, St. Moritz, Switzerland, Jan. 21, 2006. … It is the 20th event of the women’s 34 race, two combined World Cup schedule. … It is the sixth of eight scheduled downhills. … It is the second of three events planned for St. Moritz with a combined remaining.

It is the 24th career win for Michaela Dorfmeister. … Her seventh in DH. … She is now tied for 18th (men and women) on the all-time World Cup win list with Gustavo Thoeni, Lise-Marie Moreod, Marie Therese Nadig, Peter Mueller, Pernilla Wiberg and Janica Kostelic. … She ranks 10th among women. … Sixth among Austrians. … Third among Austrian women. … It is her third win of the season and first in DH. … It is her second win of the weekend. … She now has 10 podiums on the season, and five in DH. … It is her first DH win at St. Moritz, having won two World Cup SG’s and one World Championships SG at the site.

It is the 89th career World Cup podium for Renate Goetschl. … Her first of the season. … It is her 47th career podium in DH. … Her previous best this season had been fifth at Lake Louise Dec. 3. … She won DH’s at St Moritz on March 6, 1999, Dec. 16, 2000, and Dec. 20, 2003. … It is her seventh podium at the site.

It is the 48th
career podium for Janica Kostelic. … Her fourth in DH. … It is her 10th podium of the season. … Second in DH (won Bad Kleinkichheim Jan. 14). … It is her first World Cup podium at St. Moritz. … She won two world titles there in 2003 (combined and slalom).

It is the 15th scoring result of the season for Lindsey Kildow. … Her second-worst DH result of the season after an 18th at Bad Kleinkirchheim. … It is the second career scoring result for Shona Rubens and second of the season. … She was also 15th at Lake Louise Dec. 2. …It is the 73rd career scoring result for Jonna Mendes and second of the season. … Second in two days. … It is her best result of the season. … It is the ninth scoring result of the season for Emily Brydon. … Her best of four DH results. … It is the fifth career scoring result for Sherry Lawrence. … And fourth of the season. … It is her second-best career finish. … It is the third career DH result for Allison Forsyth, all from this season.

Kostelic maintains the World Cup overall standings lead 1,058-930 over Dorfmeister. … Anja Paerson (seventh in race) is third at 721. … Kildow drops to sixth overall with 534 points. … Dorfmeister controls the DH standing with two races remaining 412-301 over Kildow… Kostelic is third in the standings at 280. … With two DH’s remaining only one of the top six can mathmetically win: Dorfmeister, Kildow, Kostelic, Alexandra Meissnitzer (fourth in race), Sylviane Berthod (did not race due to injury) or Goetschl. … Winning  margin is seven-hundredths of a second. … Top dozen are within a second. … Top 31 within two seconds.

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