Werner Franz wins Val d'Isere downhill; Lalive fourth in Altenmarkt


Werner Franz wins Val d’Isere downhill; Lalive fourth in AltenmarktWerner Franz won the Val d’Isere downhill today, getting his first World Cup downhill win at age 32. Meanwhile the women raced super G in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria, where Caroline Lalive finished fourth and Julia Mancuso was fifth.

The women’s race appeared to be locked up until Tina Maze of Slovenia, skiing out of the 64th start position, came down with the third-fastest time, knocking Lalive off the podium.

“It was a really good result, but yeah, I’m a bit bummed to get knocked off the podium at the last minute,” said Lalive. “Goes to show that anything’s possible – it was so close.”

Lalive reported that she liked the narrow course. “It’s narrow and switches back and forth,” she said. “The trail dictates the set, which suits me well. There was barely any snow on the ground, but the course was in great shape. It was a beautiful day.

Alexandra Meissnitzer won the technically challenging super G on the Kaelberloch course at Altenmarkt with a time of 1:13.04. There was a “super-fast” set, according to the head coach of the American women’s speed team. Six American women finished in the top 20: Lalive, Mancuso, Lindsey Kildow (t 13th), Libby Ludlow (15th), Bryna McCarty, (17th), and Kirsten Clark (23rd).

Meissnitzer gave her team a second consecutive win in the discipline, edging out Italian Lucia Recchia (1:13.32). Lalive’s fourth-place time was 1:13.64. It was Meissnitzer’s first win in her home country. Her last win came in Megeve, France, last season.

Franz’s win adds some validation a long career in which the Austrian repeatedly finished a close second to other, more famous downhillers. Franz has been on the World Cup since the mid-nineties, and in recent years struggled just to qualify to race on the stacked Austrian squad. He has won one previous World Cup, a super G at St. Anton. Bode Miller finished fourth, just three hundredths from the podium, and Daron Rahlves tied for seventh.

“I asked the head coach if I had to qualify for Val Gardena now, and he just laughed,” said Franz, after his victory. “I never thought I would win. I just wanted to come back onto the Austrian team.”

Franz is one of a cadre of tough Austrian speed skiers who would be marquee names if they represented any other nation. But because he, Klaus Kroell, Norbert Holznecht and others are Austrian, they must pounce on any opportunity just to race World Cups. Internal team qualifications are usually made during training runs leading up to races.

“WIth Blizzard, I have a company that was perfect,” said Franz, who is one of the few World Cup athletes on that brand. “The skis have been very fast.”

“My goal is to stay healthy,” said Miller, who had to wait several minutes for a television break before starting with bib 23. “I want to race all the races and not hurt myself. When you race all the races and are traveling all the time you get worn down and sick.”

-Bill McCollom, Nathaniel Vinton and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Official Results (women’s results below)
Men’s Downhill
Val d’Isere
December 11, 2004:

World Cup
Men’s Downhill
Val d’Isere, France
Dec. 11, 2004
1. Werner Franz, AUT 1:57.51
2. Marco Buechel, LIE 1:57.78
3. Michael Walchhofer, AUT 1:58.06
4. Bode Miller, USA 1:58.09
5. Bruno Kernen, SUI 1:58.19
6. Alessandro Fattori, ITA 1:58.25
7. Daron Rahlves, USA 1:58.27
7. Antoine Deneriaz, FRA 1:58.27
9. Didier Defago, SUI 1:58.28
10. Fritz Strobl, AUT 1:58.32
11. Didier Cuche, SUI 1:58.36
12. Kurt Schulzenbacher, ITA 1:58.38
13. Erik Guay, CAN 1:58.63
14. Norbert Holzknecht, AUT 1:58.64
15. Patrik Jaerbyn, SWE 1:58.67
16. Peter Fill, ITA 1:58.72
17. Christoph Gruber, AUT 1:58.73
18. Roland Fischnaller, ITA 1:59.10
19. Sebastien Fournier-Bidoz, FRA 1:59.11
20. Bjarne Solbakken, NOR 1:59.18
21. Klaus Kroell, AUT 1:59.19
22. Johann Grugger, AUT 1:59.23
23. Yannick Bertrand, FRA 1:59.26
24. Finley Mickel, GBR 1:59.35
25. Mario Scheiber, AUT 1:59.40
26. Hermann Maier, AUT 1:59.54
27. Kristian Ghedina, ITA 1:59.63
28. Kjetil Andre Aamodt, NOR 1:59.68
29. Patrick Staudacher, ITA 1:59.75
29. Paul Accola, SUI 1:59.75
other North Americans:
37. Justin Johnson, USA 2:00.40
40. Jeff Hume, CAN 2:00.50
46. Scott Macartney, USA 2:00.92
DNF: Jan Hudec, CAN

THE SCOOP

By Hank McKee

equipment
Men’s DH, Val d’Isere, France, Dec. 11,2004
Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Franz, Blizzard/Lange/Marker
2 Buechel, Head/Lange/Tyrolia
3 Walchhofer, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4 Miller, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
5 Kernen, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
6 Fattori, Fischer/Lange/Tyrolia
7 Rahlves, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
7 Deneriaz, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
9 Defago, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
10 Strobl, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon

World Cup, Men’s Downhill. Val d’Isere, 12/11/2004 – It is the eight race of a 35 race men’s World Cup schedule (plus two combineds). … The third of 11 scheduled downhills. … A well contested race with the top 12 within a second. … top 25 within 2 seconds. … Third and ninth separated by .22 of a second.

It is the second career win for Werner Franz, his first in DH, the previous win a St Anton SG 2/13/2000. …He was second at Val d’Isere 12/15/96. … Franz missed much of last season after breaking his shoulder blade in crash at Bad Kleinkirchheim 12/21. … The retired Stephan Eberharter won the last two DH’s at Val d’Isere. … Franz’s only other result so far this season was 22nd Lake Louise DH 11/27.

It is the ninth career podium for Marco Buechel and his first in DH, the others coming in SG and GS. … He has scored in seven of the eight races held to date. … The last Liechetenstein male to claim a Cup podium was Achim Vogt 12/3/94. … It is just the second Cup DH podium ever for a Liechtenstein male, the other from Markus Foser (a win) 2/17/93 at Val Gardena.

It is the 29th career podium for Michael Walchhofer. … The 13th in DH. … His fourth podium of the season. … All of them third place finishes. (Lake Louise DH & SG, Beaver Creek DH). … He was also third at Val d’Isere in DH 12/8/01. … He is the only Austrian in the top six of the men’s DH standings after three races.

It is the 37th top four finish for Bode Miller. … His sixth of the season. … It is his worst result in a race he has finished this sesaon. … The 47th top 10 placing for Daron Rahlves. … his fourth top seven result this season. … It is the best result of the season for Erik Guay. … He has only done better at Lake Louise and Garmisch in 2003.

Miller’s lead in the World Cup overall standings is 530-284 for Walchhofer with Maier third at 279, Benjamin Raich at 263 and Rahlves fifth at 220. … Miller also leads the DH standings 250-180 over Walchhofer with Rahlves third at 161. … Austria extends her Nations Cup lead with the men now leading the USA 1957-889. The Swiss men are third at 683.

World Cup

Women’s Super G
Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria
Dec. 11, 2004

1. Alexandra Meissnitzer, AUT 1:13.04
2. Lucia Recchia, ITA 1:13.32
3. Tina Maze, SLO 1:13.56
4. Caroline Lalive, USA 1:13.64
5. Julia Mancuso, USA 1:13.69
6. Janica Kostelic, CRO 1:13.74
7. Carole Montillet-Carles, FRA 1:13.87
8. Anja Paerson, SWE 1:14.01
9. Eveline Rohregger, AUT 1:14.12
10. Hilde Gerg, GER 1:14.15
11. Silvia Berger, AUT 1:14.22
12. Nadia Styger, SUI 1:14.42
13. Michaela Dorfmeister, AUT 1:14.43
13. Lindsey Kildow, USA 1:14.43
15. Libby Ludlow, USA 1:14.53
16. Magda Mattel, FRA 1:14.71
17. Bryna McCarty, USA 1:14.73
18. Angelika Gruener, ITA 1:14.78
19. Nadia Fanchini, ITA 1:14.83
20. Martina Lechner, AUT 1:14.84
21. Petra Haltmayr, GER 1:14.85
22
. Ingrid Jacquemod, FRA 1:14.92
23. Kirsten Clark, USA 1:14.94
24. Chimene Alcott, GBR 1:15.06
25. Barbara Kleon, ITA 1:15.11
26. Fraenzi Aufdenblatten, SUI 1:15.21
27. Kathrin Wilhelm, AUT 1:15.38
28. Tanja Pieren, SUI 1:15.41
29. Mojca Suhadolc, SLO 1:15.60
30. Tanja Poutiainen, FIN 1:15.75
other North Americans:
32. Genevieve Simard, CAN 1:15.81
33. Allison Forsyth, CAN 1:15.84
35. Jonna Mendes, USA 1:15.96
36. Emily Brydon, CAN 1:15.98
40. Melanie Turgeon, CAN 1:16.16
47. Anne Marie LeFrancois, CAN 1:16.90
51. Kaylin Richardson, USA 1:18.75
DNF: Kelly Vanderbeek, CAN.

THE SCOOP

By Hank McKee

equipment
Women’s SG, Altenmarkt, Austria, Dec. 11, 2004
Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Meissnitzer, Volkl/Tecnica/Marker
2 Recchia, Volkl/Lange/Look
3 Maze, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
4 Lalive, Head/Lange/Tyrolia
5 Mancuso, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
6 Kostelic, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
7 Montillet-Carles, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
8 Paerson, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
9 Rohregger, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
10 Gerg, Volkl/Lange/Marker

It is the eighth race of the women’s 32 race World Cup schedule. … It is the second of eight scheduled SG’s. … First eight finishers are within the same second.

It is the 13th career win for Alexandra Meissnitzer. … Her sixth in SG. … Her first of the season. … She won once during the 2004 season and the other 11 wins are 1999 or before. … It is the first career podium for Lucia Recchia… She has been fourth twice, once in DH at Cortina 1/22/2000 and once in SG at Are 2/21/2004. … It is the fourth Italian podium of the season, each from different racers.

It is the fourth career podium for Tina Maze, her first in a discipline other than GS. … Her first SG scoring finish was at the end of February 2004 (Are). … She was 19th at Lake Louise earlier this season. … It is the first podium this season for Slovenia. … Just the seventh Slovene SG podium ever.

It is the seventh time Caroline Lalive has been fourth or better in her career. … Her career best result (2nd) came at Altenmarkt 3/6/2002. … Fifth matches a career best result for Julia Mancuso. … It is the second time she has been 5th at Altenmarkt having also placed 5th in DH 3/6/2002. She has also been 5th in combined 12/22/02 Lenzerheide. … It is the 10th time Lindsey Kildow has been 13th of better. … four of those this season. … It is the third best career result for Libby Ludlow. … It is the fifth best career finish for Bryna McCarty. … It is her best SG result. … It is the fifth result of the season in three disciplines for Kirsten Clark. … The U.S. women have amassed 34 scoring results in eight races. … It is the second time this season the team has scored with six athletes, the other in the first Lake Louise DH 12/3.

After not scoring a win in the first seven races of the season, Austrians have now won four consecuative races. … Historically Austrian women have been successful at Altenmarkt having won four of the six women’s SG’s held.

Anja Paeron (finishes 8th) moves past Tanja Poutiainen for the overall lead 343-341. … Poutiainen races in her first SG in an effort to stay ahead, finishing 30th for one point. … Dorfmeister holds the women’s SG lead 120-106 for Alexandra Meissnitzer. … Kildow is top American on the SG list at fourth with 80 pts. … Austrian women lead the Nations Cup over the US 1210-852. … Overall Nations Cup standings, including men’s 12/11 race: Austria 3167-USA 1741.

Val d'Isere Preview: The Course and the American CompetitorsJan Hudec of Canada injured in Val d'Isere downhill

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