December 28, 2006
SEMMERING, AUSTRIA - (USST News Bureau Release) - Olympic champion Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) turned-in the fastest second run down a treacherous, icy pitch Thursday and finished fourth in a World Cup giant slalom as racing got rolling again following the Christmas break.
Kathrin Zettel, who also won the only other GS this season during the Sirius Satellite Radio Aspen Winternational a month ago in Colorado, finished in 2:09.50, leading an Austrian sweep when first-run leader Marlies Schild ran into trouble at the bottom of her second run and dropped to third place. Mancuso, the only non-Austrian in the top five, finished in 2:09.82. Jessica Kelley (Starksboro, VT), the only other U.S. skier to qualify for the second run, finished 30th.
WCSN.com will broadcast streaming video of the race at 2 p.m. ET.
"It was sweet. They just had to slow down a little for me," Mancuso said. "It's sweet to know, though, that I won the second run. I'm really excited. I just needed to clean up some things from my first run...
"Psyched" despite ice and bumps on the course
"It was tough. The first run I didn't get my timing down. The second run, I focused more on being clean and smooth with my skiing," she said. "It was super icy and bumpy, so I'm psyched..."
Mancuso was the first skier on course in the morning run and with the icy conditions, conceded she was "a little nervous. It's pretty tough starting first in GS, especially when it's this icy. You don't know what to expect and you don't get a course report" because no teammate has been down the run.
"I definitely could have had a faster first run...but, yeah, I could have gone out, too. I'm totally happy with this," she said.
Women's Head Coach Chris Knight said, "It was definitely not an advantage to run first today. Two forerunners fell over, so Julia didn't get much of an idea what was what...and she really did well to be where she was on that first run. But she had a mistake and a couple of small bobbles on the second run...and yet she still was fastest, so she's coming on hard. It was a really good day for her.
Coach: Kelley building confidence
"And then Jess ran first on the second run; she skied it clean but didn't attack like she did on the first run; she had some really good sections...so this is two (GS) races and she's been in the second run each time; that's outstanding for her and should help her confidence. It's a long season and Jess is off to a good start," Knight said.
"We trained GS the last two days and they were good sessions," the coach said.
He said Lindsey Kildow (Vail, CO) was about 15th at her final timing split before she skied off course around 10 gates from the finish. "She sat back and got spun around; you needed to be on the ski today on this ice," he explained.
The women complete their annual visit to Semmering, west of Vienna, with a slalom Friday before heading to Zagreb, Croatia, for the Snow Queen Trophy slalom on the night of Jan. 4 and then the yearly World Cup GS/SL weekend Jan. 6-7 in Maribor, Slovenia.