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 . world ski news
04 December 2009 - 08:56
Walchhofer fastest at Beaver Creek downhill training
Holaus dominates DH training in Lake Louise
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Men's World Cup downhill training continued Thursday (Dec. 3) in Beaver Creek, Colorado. It was the first time the racers got a look at this season's entire Birds of Prey course as fresh snow yesterday forced organizers to postpone the training run and shorten the course.

The course was buffed and ready to go today in all its glory as the snowfall cleared and temperatures dropped well below freezing, hardening the course. Some racers wore tape on their faces to combat the bitter temperatures.

Austrian Michael Walchhofer (2007 downhill winner here) lead all racers with a time of 1:45.36. Lake Louise downhill winner Swiss Didier Cuche had the second-fastest time with 1:45.64, followed by teammate Didier Defago in third with a time of 1:46.42.

"The base is in really great shape, hard, perfect preparation," said Walchhofer. "It's good for Schmalzl (FIS downhill course setter) that he put out the gates a little bit around the pump house, it's a little bit slower because on this slope you become so fast that I think it was very clever of him. I think the last part was perfect but in the middle I really need to do better for Saturday."

After yesterday's shortened run, racers were hard at work finding their lines. "I'm almost ready, I have to watch the last 30 seconds, there I was too much on the right leg," said Cuche. "It think I have to tighten some lines but I was quite happy about the run."

Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal, double winner here last year in both the downhill and the super-G, as well as third-place finisher in the giant slalom, had a great run finishing fourth. Last season's overall World Cup title holder, he is working his way back up the rankings after a leg bruise, suffered in October, has slowed him down in the season's early races.

"It feels a lot better than just half of it," said Svindal about skiing the entire course. "It's a good course for sure, the top part is my favorite part so I'm glad we got to that today."

As far as his leg goes, Svindal says he is well on his way to being 100%. "This is the best I'll skied in six week. For downhill it feels very good, a little bit in the jumps and landings but not too bad," he said, "I tried skiing slalom today, and that feels okay I would say."

American Bode Miller, who has won three times on this hill, lead the home team in fifth place (1:46.79). Steven Nyman, who has claimed two podiums in Beaver Creek and was first out of the gate today, followed Miller in eighth place with a time of 1:47.00, tying Liechtenstein's Marco Buechel.

"It's really turnie, you just can't let them go downhill like you used to," said Nyman of the course that has under gone significant changes since last year. "It's fun, of course, with the jumps and everything, but it's different than it's ever been set. I really didn't tuck much at all down the pitch, I was just out of control and trying to make the gates."

World Cup competition in Beaver Creek will kick off Friday (Dec. 4) with a super combined race. A downhill will be held the following day (Dec. 5) and finally a giant slalom on Dec. 6.

By Eric Williams
Ski Racing Magazine
www.skiracing.com
Thursday 3 December 2009

Holaus dominates DH training in Lake Louise

With all three downhill training runs completed in the FIS AUDI women's World Cup  in Lake Louise, Austria's Maria Holaus is showing clear signs of domination.

Holaus, who missed the majority of last season due to a knee injury and whose career highlights include a World Cup super G victory in Cortina d'Ampezzo in 2008 followed by a DH podium in St. Moritz as well as a DH podium in San Sicario in 2007, led Thursday's downhill training in Lake Louise once again.

After leading Tuesday's training and finishing behind Lindsey Vonn, who led Wednesday's training, Holaus came down the hill in 1 minute, 50.95 seconds on Thursday, about three tenths of a second ahead of Switzerland's Nadia Styger (1:51.23) and teammate Andrea Fischbacher (1:51.26).

"It was just training," Holaus was quick to point out on Thursday. "But I'm self-confident at the moment. I like this course. I love Canada. I love the view. I love the cold. I love the slope. It's one of hte fastest courses in the World Cup. I like the smooth and long turns. It's nice to ski here. You have a perfect grip."

As to her success all week in training, Holaus said the greatest aspect of it is providing confidence going into the weekend's races, which begin Friday.

"It's always good to know you're in shape and you're self confident and just to know I'm a good skier," she said. "That's what makes it so much easier for tomorrow."

Most racers agree that Lake Louise is a favorite among all the stops on the women's downhill circuit, but the course is especially meaningful for Vonn, who has one here five times - every year since 2004 - and podiumed three times (once in downhill and twice in super G).

"This course just suits my strengths a lot," Vonn said after Thursday's training, in which she finished fifth. "The whole course, the key is maintaining your momentum and not losing it in any one place ... keep building up the speed everywhere. That acutally makes it really difficult because you can't afford to make any mistakes. Sometimes the easiest courses are the most diffiuclt that way."

As for the Lake Louise course, Vonn says she "knows it like the back of my hand" and is the best person to describe its features.

"There's quite a bit of terrain on the top," she said. "There's a jump, then it's mostly flats - just nice, sweeping, long tuck turns. Then you come into the most technical part of the course right in the middle. Coach's Corner is a big, left-footed turn and a jump. Then you've got Fishnet, which is the huge, left-footed turn that's right along the fenceline which takes you into Fallaway, which is that big, steep section. I think that's the most important part of the course. Even if you don't ski Fishnet clean, you have to be on the right line going into Fallaway so you carry all of that speed down to the flats. From there it's just tucking it out and seeing how fast your skis are and how much speed you really gain from Fallaway."

Vonn said the snow was in perfect shape on Thursday, although some turns are getting icy. Austrian Andrea Fischbacher, who has finished third twice in downhill training this week and sixth the first day, said speeds are increasing on the course.

"The course is really good," Fischbacher said. "The slope gets a little bit icier so it's going a little bit faster every day."

Canadian Britt Janyk was the second fastest North American in Thursday's training,  finishing seventh while U.S. skier Keely Kelleher was 12th and Janyk's compatriot Emily Brydon was 13th. U.S. skiers Chelsea Marshall and Stacey Cook were 15th and 16th, respectively and Julia Mancuso 19th. Leanne Smith was 23rd, Laurenne Ross 31st and Alice McKennis, who flew from the 51st starting position to fourth place in the first DH training and ninth in the second, didn't fair so well Thursday, finishing 36th.

by Shauna Farnell
Ski Racing Magazine
www.skiracing.com
Thursday 3 December 2009


 
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Next:
Vonn does it again at Lake Louise – 05 December 2009 - 09:36
Swiss Janka wins Beaver Creek super combined – 05 December 2009 - 09:38
Falk and Petukhov are the top sprinters in Düsseldorf; Schlierenzauer: Victory is worth a lot – 05 December 2009 - 18:14
Janka continues streak in Beaver Creek, wins downhill – 05 December 2009 - 23:12
Double downhill victory for Vonn; Riesch and Brydon swap spots on podium in Lake Louise – 05 December 2009 - 23:13

Previous:
Anja Paerson looking for new motivation – 04 December 2009 - 08:44
Men's races in Val d'Isère on the Face de Bellevarde – 03 December 2009 - 16:10
Val Gardena opens as Italy gets big snow – 03 December 2009 - 16:09
Swiss Hoffmann, Kreuzer lead shortened first training at Beaver Creek – 03 December 2009 - 16:02
Lindsey Vonn aiming for sixth win at Lake Louise – 03 December 2009 - 16:02

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