January 20, 2007
CORTINA D'AMPEZZO, ITALY - (USST News Bureau Release) - Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) finished second in a World Cup downhill Saturday, churning through softening snow as temperatures climbed into the mid-40s for her fourth podium in a week. WCSN.com will broadcast same-day video streaming at 2 p.m. ET.
Austrian Renate Goetschl collected her 10th victory in Cortina, this time in 1:31.14. Mancuso's time was 1:31.31 as she reached her fourth consecutive podium; after finishing third (behind Goetschl) in a DH a week ago, she won a super combined event last Sunday in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria, and took the super G Friday in Cortina, one of the toughest courses on the women's circuit.
Kirsten Clark (Raymond, ME) was 15th with Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA) 18th over the 2.64K course. Kildow had the lead by .11 at the first interval, but then went down on the upper part of the course, righted herself and then skied out.
Course dye creates some problems
"The snow is really soft, but it's not too bad," said Mancuso, "It's only soft from halfway down; the top is totally sweet. It's a little confusing, though, with all the blue dye in the snow" to help racers with the outline of the course. At one point, she told journalists, she almost went on the wrong side of a gate.
Mancuso, the Olympic giant slalom champion - who will run GS Sunday in Cortina, said she is racing with great confidence because of her equipment and the appeal of Cortina's big-mountain challenge.
"I don't know what it is, but, really, it's all about skiing. It flows so well here. There are some open sections and lots of turns...and fun going high speed. It's not super technical," she explained.
With temperatures well above freezing (7 C., 45 F.), the course conditions continued to soften; Friday's race was run more than three hours after its scheduled start because of rains which raked this region of the Dolomites. "It's pretty slushy from midway down," she said.
"I was ready for the bumps. It's been bumpy every day in training and I expected conditions to be similar to super G, but they held up better today - probably because we started earlier," she added.
Coach: Success breeds success
Women's speed Head Coach Alex Hoedlmoser said Mancuso's continued success is feeding on itself. "She has to have fun, and when that comes, as it has this last month, she could be on the podium every race."
Course conditions ranged from stable at the top, according to Hoedlmoser, to "peely" in the middle and slushy at the bottom. "Yeah, the dye was all over. We had downhill training, then the super G and in the flat light today, they put tons of dye. There's usually not as much."
Kildow was attacking from the start, he said, and after she went down and came back up, she lost speed "and was pushing her line to make up for it, and she made another mistake" and crashed out, but was uninjured.
The women complete their three-day visit to Cortina, site of the 1956 Olympic Winter Games, Sunday with a giant slalom.