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Bad Kleinkirchheim: Paerson claims career downhill win No. 2

Bad Kleinkirchheim: Paerson claims career downhill win No. 2{mosimage}BAD KLEINKIRCHHEIM, Austria – Anja Paerson of Sweden unexpectedly won the downhill Friday at a women’s World Cup event, giving her confidence for the upcoming Winter Olympics.

Paerson’s downhill triumph was the second among her 29 World Cup titles. The Swede raced down a slope buried in thick snow to clock 1 minute, 37.70 seconds in a close race with the top four separated by only .09.

Michaela Dorfmeister took second at 1:37.74, with Swiss skier Fraenzi Aufdenblatten another .04 back. Janica Kostelic, the overall World Cup leader, missed the podium by .01 seconds in 1:37.79.

”It was unbelievably close,” Paerson said. ”I can’t believe I won. I have been fighting the downhill all year and I didn’t come here with a positive attitude – I was hoping to finish top 10.”

Paerson, who won last year’s overall title, said the downhill win will allow her to concentrate on other disciplines heading into the Torino Olympics, which start in three weeks.

She will enter five races, trying to pick up her first Olympic gold medal.

”The pressure on me is really high back home in Sweden,” Paerson said of the Olympics. ”When I do bad in the downhill or super G, they ask me why I am entering. Now that my downhill is in order, I can maybe concentrate on the super G or slalom.”

The only points the 24-year-old Swede had collected in a rocky downhill season was an 18th at Val d’Isere, France. In two other races she failed to finish and was 53rd.
Paerson made up ground on Kostelic in the race for overall honors this season, with 685 to the Croatian’s 782 points.

But the Swede said she could skip World Cup races to be ready for the Olympics and wasn’t interested in the latest battle with Kostelic for the season title. Last year, she edged her rival by three points.

”I really do focus on the Olympics, so I don’t know where I am in the standings,” she said.

The downhill will be followed by another Saturday and a super G Sunday, the first World Cup races held at the newly designed Franz Klammer slope since 1997.

The revamped slope had been billed as one of the hardest and most dangerous on the women’s circuit before the skiers arrived this week.

Skiers said it didn’t live up to the hype and was on the slow side for a downhill, flat at the top followed by a series of curves. That helped technical racers like Paerson, who has won 26 slaloms and giant slaloms.

”People were saying this was the most difficult slope on the women’s circuit – I was surprised at how easy it was. It was very technical,” Paerson said.

Dorfmeister closed in on Lindsey Kildow for the lead in the downhill standings, with 252 points to the American’s 274.

The 32-year-old Austrian made her World Cup debut at Bad Kleinkirchheim 15 years ago when she was 17.

Kildow was ninth in 1:38.59 after winning the last two downhills. The American turned in poor times on the slope all week in practice, followed by a 29th in qualification.

Dorfmeister wants to cap her long career with Olympic gold. She won a super G silver at Nagano, Japan, in 1988, missing the top prize by a fraction of a second.

”I was frustrated when I came down the slope just .04 behind. When I saw how close the top racers were, however, I felt lucky,” Dorfmeister said. ”At the Olympics you will need a lot of luck. Everything has to be right that day.”

– The Associated Press

Women’s downhill
Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria
Jan. 13, 2006

1. Anja Paerson, SWE    1:37.70
2. Michaela Dorfmeister, AUT    1:37.74
3. Fraenzi Aufdenblatten, SUI   1:37,78
4. Janica Kostelic, CRO 1:37.79
5. Sylvaine Berthod, SUI        1:38.03
6. Nike Bent, SWE       1:38.12
7. Elisabeth Goergl, AUT        1:38.13
8. Alexandra Meissnitzer, AUT   1:38.22
9. Lindsey Kildow, USA  1:38.59
10. Nadia Styger, SUI   1:38.69
11. Kirsten Clark, USA  1:38.77
12. Brigitte Obermoser, AUT     1:38.81
13. Jessica Lindell-Vikarby, SWE        1:38.96
14. Andrea Fischbacher, AUT     1:38.96
15. Renate Goetschl, AUT        1:39.04
15. Ingrid Jacquemod, FRA       1:39.04
17. Kelly Vanderbeek, CAN       1:39.06
18. Ingrid Rumpfhuber, AUT      1:39.12
18. Catherine Borghi, SUI       1:39.12
20. Lucia Recchia, ITA  1:39.13
20. Allison Forsyth, CAN        1:39.13
22. Marlies Schild, AUT 1:39.18
23. Emily Brydon, CAN   1:39.20
24. Katja Wirth, AUT    1:39.28
25. Carole Montillet-Carles, FRA        1:39.32
26. Martina Ertl-Renz, GER      1:39.33
27. Elena Fanchini, ITA 1:39.37
28. Nadia Fanchini, ITA 1:39.38
29. Daniela Merighetti, ITA     1:39.57
30. Stefanie Stemmer, GER       1:39.69
Other North Americans:
33. Julie Mancuso, USA 1:39.93
34. Stacie Cook, USA 1:39.96
35. Bryna McCarty, USA 1:40.25
40. Jonna Mendes, USA 1:40.70
42. Caroline Lalive, USA 1:40.86
46. Shona Roberts, CAN 1:41.22
48. Libby Ludlow, USA 1:41.76
DNF: Sherry Lawrence, CAN.

By Hank McKee

Women’s DH, Bad Kleinkirchheim, Jan. 13, 2006

Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1. Paerson, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
2. Dorfmeister, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
3. Aufdenblatten, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
4. Kostelic, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
5. Berthod, Dynastar/Lange/Look
6. Bent, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
7. Goergl, Blizzard/Lange/Marker
8. Meissnitzer, Volkl/Fischer/Marker
9. Kildow, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
10. Styger, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon

Women’s downhill, Bad Kleinkrichheim, Austria, Jan. 13, 2006. … It is the 16th race of the women’s 34 race, two combined World Cup schedule. … The fourth of eight scheduled downhills. … It is the 18th World Cup held at Bad Kleinkirchheim, the ninth DH and the eighth women’s DH. … It is the first race of a three race set to be held on the site.

It is the 30th career win for Anja Paerson. … Her second in downhill. … It is her fourth win of the season, giving her wins in three disciplines (is missing only SG). … She is seventh on the all-time win list among women, one behind Erika Hess (31). … She is the second most winning Swede of all-time behind all-time best Ingemar Stenmark (86).

It is the 58th career podium for Michaela Dorfmeister. … the 19th in DH. … It is her sixth podium of the season, third in DH.

It is the second career podium for Fraenzi Aufdenblatten, the previous coming Jan.31, 2004 at Haus im Ennstal. … She is 24, from Zermatt. … The Swiss now have five podiums on the season, each from a different racer.

It is the 27th career top 10 for Lindsey Kildow. … It is her worst DH result of the season after two wins and a fifth in the first three held. … It is the 39th time Kirsten Clark has finished top 11 in a World Cup. … Fourth time this season. … It is her best DH result of the season. … It is the top DH result of the season for Kelly Vanderbeek. … 17th matches her second best career DH finish (was 15th Cortina Jan. 18, 2004). … It is the first career DH score for Allison Forsyth. … She owns 24 top-10 results in GS. … It is the fifth scoring result of the season for Emily Brydon….the second in DH. … Twins Elena and Nadia Fanchini of Italy finished within one hundredth of each other.

Janica Kostelic (fourth in race) maintains the lead in World Cup overall points 782-684 over Anja Paerson. … Michaela Dorfmeister takes sole posession of third at 590 with Marlies Schild (22nd in race) sliding from a tie in third to fourth at 519. … Lindsey Kildow is fifth at 507. … Kildow holds the DH standings lead 274-252 over Dorfmeister. …
Alexandra Meissnitzer (eighth in race) is third at 202. … Winning margin is four hundredths of a second. … Top 10 skiers are within a second of the lead. … Entire scoring field within two seconds. …  USA Accounted for 28 percent of the skiers finishing out of the points.

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