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TORINO: Winds blow atop men's DH, but course draws solid reviews

TORINO: Winds blow atop men’s DH, but course draws solid reviews{mosimage}High winds are blowing across the Olympic men’s downhill the night before the first training run, but FIS officials, coaches and ski manufacturers have a positive outlook for the race, which takes place on Sunday, Feb. 12.

‘Most of the coaches and some tech guys have been on the slope’ said FIS race director Guenter Hujara at the team captains’ meeting Wednesday night. ‘Conditions are just excellent. It’s a very challenging course, and some of the athletes will be excited and others will be surprised.’

Rudi Huber, race director for Atomic skis, hopes the fastest skis on Sunday are on the feet of one of his guys.

‘I was just on the downhill course’ said Huber. ‘It’s quite difficult. It’s very icy on the top. It’s dry, aggressive snow because the wind blows all the humidity out.’

A team of course workers from Kitzbuehel was brought in in January when FIS officials became alarmed at the slow pace of the course preparation. They were course workers who normally help prepare the Steilhang section of the Hahnenkamm downhill.

One of the coaches who inspected the course on Wednesday was David Mansfield, who coaches Brazil’s single downhill racer, Nikolai Hentsch, who starts 76th out of 90 in training. ‘It’s a real downhill he’s going to race’ said Mansfield.

Organizers did a little water injection on the slope. Now they hope that the wind abates.

‘The outlook is very, very good for the next few days’ said Hujara. ‘Even if we have trouble tomorrow with the wind, things look very good for the next few days after that.’

There are 90 men on the first training run start list, including 10 Austrians. The Americans start 13 (Daron Rahlves), 21 (Scott Macartney), 23 (Bode Miller), 29 (2002 Sprint/Ski Racing Junior of the Year Steve Nyman), 33 (2004 Sprint/Ski Racing Junior of the Year Ted Ligety) and 40 (Marco Sullivan).

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