January 15-17, 1999
Kjus Wins Downhill
"I skied really well in the upper part, but I made a small mistake at the end in the last curves before the final jumps," said Kjus, a quiet skier from Oslo. "I felt confident after the training and I tried to be as precise as possible. You can't make up a mistake on this slope."
Kjus, the 1996 overall World Cup winner, became the first Norwegian skier to win this classic competition, finishing 56/100 of a second ahead of Austrian Hannes Trinkl, the 1998 Olympic bronze medal winner.
Hans Knauss (AUT) placed 3rd just 1/100 behind Trinkl, and Hermann Maier (AUT) placed 4th. Austrians Werner Franz and Andreas Schifferer were 6th and 7th respectively.
Many skiers had problems or crashed, including the 1992 Olympic champion Patrick Ortlieb who was 2nd fastest in Friday's training run. Kjus, who was fastest in training, reinforced his lead in the World Cup downhill standings with this win his sixth downhill victory.
Maier complained about the windy conditions and his slow skis in the gliding section. He wanted to wait until the end of the day to decide whether to participate in the slalom in order to score points in the combined. His main rival, Kjetil Aamodt (NOR), didn't place in the top five as he expected, yet he remains the favorite for the combined. Kjus will also aim for a top-3 finish in the combined.
Mountain Zone European Correspondent
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