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Women's Super-G: Val díIsère, France
Thursday, December 10, 1998
"I skied with rage today after my bad result in Mammoth Mountain last week," said the smiling Alexandra, who got her very first World Cup win here two years ago. "It was a joke race there, way too easy for me."
Swedenís 1997 overall World Cup winner, Pernilla Wiberg finished in a strong 4th place after a disappointing race last week at Mammoth Mountain, California, where she ended in 44th. Meissnitzerís teammate, Renate Goetschl, second in America, didnít confirm her strong form in Val díIsère. She came at a far 7th.
Four Austrian racers entered among the top 10, yet the surprising Christiane Mittelwallner, who upset the favorites last week in California, jumped out of the course in the upper part of the run.
Two US skiers could score World Cup points this time: Kathleen Monahan was 16th at 2.59 seconds back and Kirsten Clark, who was 26th at 3.66 seconds back, tied with Croatiaís Janica Kostelic. Jona Mendes finished 37th and Caroline Lalive 40th. Melanie Turgeon was 25th.
Meissnizter was more than pleased by her fifth career victory, which helps her to increase her lead in the Overall World Cup standings. She now has 525 points, 142 more than Ertl. Since the season start, her worse result was her 6th place at Mammoth.
"The conditions were fortunately much more demanding here," Meissnitzer said. "You had to take some chances in the upper part of the course which was technically quite difficult. When I checked the run yesterday, I was worried because the snow was rather soft but it was harder today.
"I put some pressure on me this time and I worked out fine. I had some troubles in the first turns, but at the end it was fine. I think that nobody could made it without mistakes. Itís an important success because I really wanted to win again here. Iím getting more ambitious race after race. I felt tired this morning because I couldnít sleep last night so I just hope I can keep this form in the coming months.
"The fight for the Overall World Cup win is getting tougher in each race, both Ertl and Wiberg are very consistent and they can score many more points than me since they also race in the slaloms and the combined events. I donít consider myself as a favorite so far. This also helps me to be more aggressive in each race. I will try again tomorrow to give my best."
Ertl, the defending giant slalom World Cup champion, should again be her stongest rival in that second French competition. A year ago, she was winning that race when she skied out in the upper part of the run. She is looking for sweet revenge this time even if she hasnít had much GS training in the past weeks.
"To finish again on the podium gives me great momentum because I know that I can ski faster and better" she said. "I have to be patient - last year I had to wait until the second week in January to win my first race. Meissnitzer is, right now, in the form of her life, but the season is long. Itís difficult to remain at the top for several months. I feel confident."
There was much happiness, too, in the "French Corner" after the race thanks to Regine Cavagnoudís fine 3rd place finish. The 28-year-old veteran obtained her first top-3 since she came 2nd and 3rd in two speed events in Veysonnaz, Switzerland, in 1993. She had some promising runs in giant slalom in Sölden and Park City, but she was consistent enough for a top finish. This third place opens up a new horizon for her.
"I have trained harder this summer and skied more aggressively this winter than in recent years." Cavagnoud said. "It means a lot to me to be on the podium in my own country. Itís also good for the entire team. I had a good run, but I know I can ski faster maybe in the giant slalom."
Mountain Zone European Correspondent