Americans and Austrians select men’s starters for Soelden alpine World Cup openerThe U.S. Ski Team held time trials Oct. 14 at Soelden, Austria, in order to select athletes to fill the last remaining openings in the team’s lineup for the race there eight days from now. The men’s and women’s giant slaloms on the weekend of Oct. 22-23 are the first alpine World Cups of the 2005-06 season.
In the men’s squad time trials, Ted Ligety and Tom Rothrock won start positions, rounding out their country’s seven-man roster. In the women’s qualification race, held in the afternoon, Kaylin Richardson, Stacey Cook and Lauren Ross came out on top. The women’s team will have 10 starters.
The two skiers who failed to qualify in Friday’s time trials were Chip Knight and Libby Ludlow.
Also in Soelden this week are those Americans who qualified for the race either through placing themselves in the top 60 worldwide or gaining a top-two spot in last year’s NorAm standings.
On the women’s side, these are Julia Mancuso, Sarah Schleper, Kristina Koznick (independent), Caroline Lalive, Lindsey Kildow, Resi Stiegler, Jessica Kelley and Kristen Mielke.
On the men’s team, the automatic starters are Bode Miller, Daron Rahlves, Dane Spencer, Erik Schlopy and Jimmy Cochran.
Daron Rahlves and Bode Miller won the two race-simulation runs, which went from the start of the actual race course to a spot on the flats not too far above where the finish line will be on Oct. 23. Jimmy Cochran was four tenths of a second off Rahlves on the first run, and Ligety was only a tenth off Miller on the second.
In other news, Lalive is flying home to have her medial collateral ligament examined in Colorado, and Austria’s Renate Goetschl strained her MCL as well, according to the Austrian Press Agency.
“I must now wait, see what happens, and make a decision then”, Goetschl told APA, adding that it could just be inflammation.
Goetschl won the women’s World Cup downhill title last year.
Austrian men select starters, and Grandi looks solid
The powerful Austrian men’s team conducted its own qualification race Thursday.
Mario Scheiber, Mario Matt and Andreas Schifferer won the three spots that the Austrian team had held open. They will join eight previously qualified Austrians on the opening day, Oct. 23. These are Hermann Maier, Benni Raich, Stephan Goergl, Rainer Schoenfelder, Christoph Gruber and the pair who won the top two spots by virtue of their placing in the Europa Cup standings last year: Patrick Bechter and Hannes Reichelt.
The Austrian Press Agency reported the times in the Austrian men’s team time trial, which consisted of two runs. According to APA, the fastest first-run time was Raich, at 1:00.36, with Maier (1:00,52) close behind. On the second run, Maier got revenge, finishing in 57.83 seconds, with Canadian invitee Thomas Grandi 57.91 in second and Raich in third with a 57.95.