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Goetschl Dominates Downhill
March 5, 1999
Goetschl Wins Second to Last DH
She beat her teammate Michaela Dorfmeister, the silver medalist at the Vail Worlds in February, while Italy's Isolde Kostner took an encouraging 3rd place a week after crashing in Are, Sweden. Dorfmeister lost by a narrow 39/100 of a second in Sweden she missed her first season's win by 7/100. Kostner was slower than Goetschl by over a second.
Winner in the first two downhills held last November in Lake Louise, Canada, Goetschl clearly dominated that event this season, especially in the past four competitions. She raised her arms in the finish area to express her excitement after clocking a new best time across the finish line.
In the last training run, held two hours before the race, she clocked only the 11th best time, at 1.45 seconds behind her teammate Elisabeth Brandner.
"Fortunately my technician was able to bring me faster skis for the race," Goetschl said with a smile. "On this soft and slow course, the material had a crucial role. The warm temperature favored me I know that I can perfectly handle those conditions with fast skis and I was able to remain pretty relaxed."
Michaela Dorfmeister, who has not won a race in the last four years, had no problem accepting the dominance of her colleague. She was glad to win a spot on the podium after a disastrous training run in the morning. She came in 28th, losing more than two seconds on the fastest racers.
"I know that I have the talent to win races too, but I need to achieve an almost perfect run to beat Renate," said Dorfmeister. "I missed a strong chance in Are and I was also very close to finish in the lead in Vail. She knows better than me how to handle the pressure and the courses. I still make too many small mistakes because I try to hard to achieve a perfect run. But it's great to have become so consistent. It's my best season ever, event without a single victory."
France's Florence Masnada came in 4th in front of another Austrian, Marianne Salchinger, who achieved her best World Cup result in this race. As Germany's Hilde Gerg only finished 6th, Renate is assured of her second title in the downhill standings before the last race in Spain.
Alexandra Meissnitzer tied with Hilde Gerg for 6th place, an encouraging result for her on the soft snow covering the Corviglia course which hosted the first women's speed event since the early 1970s. This result brought her a step closer to her first triumph in the overall World Cup standings. In tomorrow's super-G, she hopes to clinch her first World Cup crystal globe trophy in the super-G.
The other favorites, Switzerland's Corinne Rey-Bellet and Germany's Regine Haeusl, finished beyond 10th place, losing more than two seconds on the leader. Sweden's Pernilla Wiberg, who is still fighting for the slalom World Cup title, did not race. Kirsten Clark was the best US skier taking 18th place. Canada's Melanie Turgeon, who also suffered a huge crash in Are, was 26th.
Both Goetschl and Dorfmeister will fight for another win in the super-G against their teammate Alexandra Meissnitzer, who could conquer her first World Cup trophy with a top-10 result. Before this race, her lead over Dorfmeister in the standings was 136 points. She would become the first Austrian to claim the super-G title since it became part of the World Cup tour in 1986. Her 6th place boosted her confidence as she didn't expect a top-10 result on this course.
"The conditions were tough for me, I knew I had no chance to be among the best," said Meissnitzer, who has only won one downhill race this season. "I'm still very motivated because there is still a lot to win for me until Sierra Nevada," she added.
If Meissnitzer finishes two points ahead of Hilde Gerg in the super-G she will become the fourth Austrian woman to conquer the overall World Cup title. Her German rival, Martina Ertl, didn't compete today as she underwent knee surgery earlier this week after her crash in Are. She is not expected to race at the World Cup finals next week.
Mountain Zone European Ski Correspondent