February 9, 2006
SESTRIERE, Italy (USST Release)—Three-time Olympian Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA) topped the field in Thursday's first Olympic downhill training run as he blistered the Kandahar Banchetta course and won by 1.21 seconds over the next fastest competitor.
Rahlves laid down a time of 1:49.46 on the same course he won a World Cup on in 2004. A pair of Austrians followed with Michael Walchhofer in second (1:50.67) and Hermann Maier in third (1:50.73).
"Obviously if I'm leading (the training run) by 1.2 seconds, I like this hill," said Rahlves, a 1998 and 2002 Olympian. "It's a really active downhill. I like how it starts off with two challenging jumps. It's a deceptive course because you're speed's not that fast, but it feels like you're going fast."
Five of the six U.S. skiers finished in the top 30. Steven Nyman (Orem, UT) was 14th (1:52.18), Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH) was 16th (1:52.21), Scott Macartney (Redmond, WA) placed 22nd (1:52.54) and Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA) was 29th (1:53.54). Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) was 50th (1:55.69).
"This race comes down to me," said Rahlves. "I'm my biggest challenger. If I allow myself to ski well and relax, I have a great chance to win. This is a great hill for me."
Following the training session, Liechtenstein's Marco Buechel, who placed ninth, approached Rahlves and had this to say to him - "You mark your mountain like it's already yours, like a dog marks its territory."
The speed skiers have two more training runs, one Friday and one Saturday, prior to the Olympic downhill on Sun., Feb. 12.
Rahlves and Miller will be racing Sunday, while the other two U.S. spots are up for grabs. The third starting spot will be handed out to Friday's fastest American.
Friday and Saturday's training runs, as well as Sunday's race, are slated for a noon start.
OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES
Torino, ITA - Feb. 9, 2006
Men's DH Training #1
1. Daron Rahlves, Sugar Bowl, Calif., 1:49.46
2. Michael Walchhofer, Austria, 1:50.67
3. Hermann Maier, Austria, 1:50.73
4. Klaus Kroell, Austria, 1:50.85
5. Antoine Deneriaz, France, 1:50.99
T14. Steven Nyman, Orem, Utah, 1:52.18
16. Bode Miller, Bretton Woods, N.H., 1:52.21
22. Scott Macartney, Redmond, Wash., 1:52.54
29. Marco Sullivan, Squaw Valley, Calif., 1:53.44
50. Ted Ligety, Park City, Utah, 1:55.69