St. Anton, Austria, Feb. 7, 2001--A small mid-race miscue cost Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA) another trip to the World Championships podiumWednesday as he finished fifth in the men's downhill while Austrians Hannes Trinkl and Hermann Maier went 1-2.
"I thought I still had the podium," Rahlves said as he watched the back of the field come down before some 35,000 fans. "I was psyched about theway I skied today but unfortunately it wasn't enough ... but one little mistake in the middle and that was it."
The men's downhill is king in Austria, and Trinkl came down in 1:38.74, eclipsing his renowned teammate by .2. In a race where an early startnumber was most helpful - six of the top seven spots were single-digit starters (Trinkl raced sixth, Maier third and Rahlves ninth) - the bronzemedal went to birthday boy Flori Eckert of Germany, No. 25 and a World Cup rookie who was marking his 22nd birthday; his time was 1:39.26.
Rahlves was fifth with a 1:39.64 clocking and Chad Fleischer (Vail, CO) finished 11th in 1:40.75. Jake Fiala (Breckenridge, CO) crashed as he turnedinto the final face of the course.
The Californian, who delighted most of the alpine ski racing world last week when he won the super G gold medal, led through the early intervalsbefore he apparently lost a fraction of a second in setting up a turn in the mid-section of the 2.5-km Karl Schranz race course
"Whenever your skis jump around and you don't keep 'em clean, you're definitely losing time and it's one tough thing on this hill, there are so manybumps. I was railing the top - it felt so good at the beginning, things were going...and then you put a little too much pressure in one area, like theapex of a turn and it's bumpy, like I did, and you lose it...
"I made a mistake but I was really happy with the way I skied, pretty much, like top to bottom. There's never going to be a perfect run. It's just amatter of fighting and keeping going at it," he told reporters.
The men's DH originally was to have been run Saturday but when weekend storms left about two feet of wet snow on the mountain, organizers wereforced to shuffle the schedule; the DH was rescheduled for Tuesday and then re-rescheduled for mid-week. The next men's race at thechampionships is Thursday when they will compete in giant slalom.
2001 World Alpine Ski Championships, St. Anton, AUT - Feb. 7
1. Hannes Trinkl, Austria, 1:38.74
2. Hermann Maier, Austria, 1:38.94
3. Flori Eckert, Germany, 1:39.26
4. Silvano Beltrametti, Switzerland, 1:39.37
5. Daron Rahlves, Sugar Bowl, Calif., 1:39.64
11. Chad Fleischer, Vail, Colo., 1:40.75
Did not finish: Jake Fiala, Breckendge, Colo.