Santa Caterina, Italy Feb. 10--Italy's Isolde Kostner held off asizzling charge from unheralded American Alison Powers (Winter Park, CO)in a World Cup downhill Thursday and went on to win by two-hundredths ofa second. Kirsten Clark (Raymond, ME) popped the best result of hercareer, finishing ninth, .32 out.
Kostner collected her third win of the season in 1:25.85 with Germany'sRegina Haeusl second (1:25.87) and Corinne Rey Bellet of Switzerlandthird, another .03 off the pace. The top 12 skiers were withinfour-tenths of the winner in a race that was a pickup from the eventsrelocated from Snowbasin, Utah, because of poor snow; there will be asuper G Friday and slalom (with combined calculation) Saturday.
After winds and drifting snow blew out the second training runWednesday, Clark, skiing fourth, was ninth with a time of 1:26.17. JonnaMendes (Heavenly, CA) finished 18th in 1:26.74 and Caroline Lalive(Steamboat Springs, CO) was 26th with a 1:27.02 clocking on a sunny day.
Clark Attacks Top to Bottom
"'Clarky' was awesome, just a great run," said Head Coach MarjanCernigoj. "She went out of the gate very aggressively and kept it up;she took it all the way to the finish.
"This was one of those days where we were on the right side of the two-or three-tenths of a second that we've been missing out by," he said."The servicemen Cookie Kairys and Matej Cujes did a great job, too; itwas a real effort today."
With Lalive skiing in the combined tally, Cernigoj was pleased with herchances of doing well Saturday in the slalom. "It was really good theway 'Liner' pulled it together because Powers had gone down just beforeand Liner was flagged off about 40 seconds into the race; she went backto the start and regrouped and then put it down again.
"And she's skiing such good slalom. We're looking for some good pointsthere," he said. "Caroline is just a second behind Austrian RenateGoetschl and German Martina Ertl..."
Powers' Near-miss Breathtaking
But it was Powers' performance - coming off a Super Series DH win atBig Mountain, Mont., last week - that left him searching for words. "Atthe last split, she was two-tenths ahead of Kostner, who won it on thebottom. Powers had been 11th on the top and fifth at the final split butshe was going so fast and she fell off the last jump," the coach said."She went down about 150 yards from finish and she ended up rolling tojust before the finish, so she crossed the line on one ski, which isn'tallowed.
"But it was an incredible way to make some news over here. She's fine,really okay...but, oh man, she was so close."