Are, Sweden, Feb. 3, 2002 -- Kristina Koznick of Burnsville, MN tuned-up for the Olympics with another slalom podium Sunday, finishing second in the final pre-Winter Games race on a flat course above Are. Laure Pequegnot of France won by more than a second with Sarah Schleper of Vail, CO eighth.
Pequgnot, who won the opening slalom of the season during the Chevy Truck Women s World Challenge on Thanksgiving Day at Copper Mountain, C0, laid down a sizzling first run that had her 1.37 seconds out front. No one came close on the second run as she had only the 21st-fastest time but still was way ahead. Her final time was 1:26.08 with Koznick collecting her third second-place result of the winter along with a victory two weeks ago in Berchtesgaden, Germany runnerup in 1:27.33.
Pequegnot and Koznick are 1-2 in the World Cup slalom standings with world slalom champ Anja Paerson of Sweden, who skied out on the first run, in third place.
Austrian Renate Goetschl further narrowed the gap with teammate Michaela Dorfmeister by winning the weekend's combined calculation, winning the downhill Saturday and finishing tied for 11th in slalom. During the 2000 season, Goetschl won the overall title with Dorfmeister second; heading into the Olympic break, Dorfmeister has 991 points, a 60-point bulge on Goetschl.
Schleper, continuing to show consistency with her seventh top-10 of the winter, had a two-run time of 1:28.06. Tasha Nelson of Mound, MN, gunning for her first World Cup points since Maribor in January 2000, ran into problems midway through her second run and skied off-course. Neither Lindsey C. Kildow of Vail, CO nor Julia Mancuso of Squaw Valley, CA finished the slalom in their bid for combined points.
"It was good for Koz. She didn't have a super-good first run," said U.S. Coach Thomas Stauffer, "but the setting for the second run was fast -- more distance between the gates -- and she was really going for it.
"In the first run, there were two knolls and then it was flat on the bottom. On the second run, it was almost all flat," he said. "The snow got a little softer on the second run, not completely bad but the first skiers in the flip-30 format could advance from their first run."
He said Schleper "wasn't happy with her second run. She skied quite well on her first run and was seventh, but then she had problems. Still, for Sarah to be eighth with two runs where she wasn't happy, that's good. Her slalom is strong."
Nelson, who will join her two 1998 Olympic teammates in Utah for the Winter Games, was 31st in Berchtesgaden (with Koznick first and Schleper fifth) and a near-miss in Are. "She had her best skiing of the winter, I think. She had a good top split but then she got back in the middle and skied out," according to Stauffer.
Kildow and Mancuso, the 17-year-old Olympians, ran out of gas with their mental focus, he said. "It was so hard for both of them to focus. They've been doing a pretty good job for their first full-time on the World Cup but you could see how tired they are. Julia went out on her first run and Lindsey on her second."
The women return to the USA Monday and after a few days of rest will be in Utah by the end of the week to go through Olympic accreditation, and then training for the Games.
FIS CAFÉ DE COLOMBIA WORLD CUP
Are, SWE - Feb. 3
1. Laure Pequegnot, France, 1:26.08
2. Kristina Koznick, Burnsville, MN, 1:27.33
3. Ylva Nowen, Sweden, 1:27.43
4. Tanja Poutiainen, Finland, 1:27.49
5. Sonja Nef, Switzerland, 1:27.53
8. Sarah Schleper, Vail, 1:28.06
DNF-2: Tasha Nelson, Mound, MN
Did not qualify for 2nd run: Julia Mancuso, Squaw Valley, CA
Did not qualify for 2nd run: Lindsey C. Kildow, Vail, CO
1. Michaela Dorfmeister, Austria, 991 points
2. Renate Goetschl, Austria, 931
3. Sonja Nef, Switzerland, 804
4. Anja Paerson, Sweden, 724
5. Hilde Gerg, Geermany
7. Kristina Koznick, Burnsville, MN, 592
21. Sarah Schleper, Vail, 352
27. Kirsten Clark, Raymond, ME, 263
31. Caroline Lalive, Steamboat Springs, CO, 239
49. Picabo Street, Park City, UT, 136
68. Jonna Mendes, Heavenly, CA, 83
77. Katie Monahan, Aspen, CO, 62
87. Julia Mancuso, Squaw Valley, CA 36
93. Lindsey C. Kildow, Vail, CO 27
1. Laure Pequegnot, France, 552
2. Kristina Koznick, Burnsville, MN, 498
3. Anja Paerson, Sweden, 400
4. Sonja Nef, Switzerland, 330
5. Christel Pascal-Saioni, France, 276
8. Sarah Schleper, Vail, 254