VEYSONNAZ, Switzerland, Jan. 10, 2004 - Austrian Renate Goetschl earned the 30th World Cup victory of her career Saturday, capturing a downhill by nearly a half-second over teammate Michaela Dorfmeister and Germany's Hilde Gerg, who tied for second place. Kirsten Clark was fourth and Caroline Lalive fifth, leading four U.S. skiers into the top 25.
In a race relocated from Santa Caterina, Italy, because the speed course was not completed, Goetschl overcame flat light and soft snow to win with in 1:38.58. It's her third victory this season.
Dorfmeister and Gerg were timed in 1:39.07 with Clark fourth in 1:39.17 and Lalive timed in 1:39.57. Clark stands ninth overall, fifth in DH points.
Libby Ludlow, hobbled at the start of the season with an ankle injury suffered before the World Cup opener in late October, picked up her first points of the season, finishing 18th and giving the U.S. Ski Team 11 points-scoring women this season. Lindsey Kildow was part of a three-way tie for 22nd place in the 30-degree weather and Jonna Mendes was 45th.
Nearly a foot of snow fell at the top of the course overnight into Friday and forced organizers to cancel the second training run. After re-grooming, the course had soft snow Saturday and an overcast sky created tricky visibility.
"I'm definitely pysched with it," Clark said. "There was quite a bit of soft snow, so for me being in there in soft snow is great. It's definitely a technical course with a lot of rolls and terrain. I would've liked to race in conditions like we had on our training run, but I'm still happy with this...
"It's the first time I've been here for downhill. They raced here five years ago but I was doing some Europa Cups in Megeve... It's definitely a technical course; I think it's the most technical on the women's schedule."
Head Coach Patrick Riml said, "It was very good for the girls. Clarky and Lalive and Libby skied so well in training two days ago; they were awesome. After the second training was canceled, they just executed again today. And this should give Lindsey some good confidence, too.
"Liner got right after it. She's skied well all season but sometimes she's put too much pressure on herself to get more, and today she just stayed with it," he said. Lalive skied 14th and held first first until Clark, starting 26th, came down and bumped her, triggering changes at the top of the leaderboard.
Gerg, running 27th, nudged Clark by .1 and Dorfmeister skied 28th and tied Gerg. Then came Goetschl, who took the win.
"It was all right. The girls, for sure, skied well. I thought we had a podium, maybe two," said DH/SG Head Coach Alex Hoedlmoser. "They did a good job."
"This is a great hill," Riml said, "but the visibility was not perfect at all. There was some flat light, which troubled some girls. You had to be aggressive but some, like Jonna, have more problems in flat light.
The women run super G Sunday. "They're really looking forward to the super G; Clarky made a couple of small mistakes in Megeve and she wants to make up for that, and they're all ready to go," Riml said.