Goetschl Hones In On WC Title

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Igls, Austria, Feb. 28 (AP by Nesha Starcevic)--Renate Goetschl peaked at just the right time.

Goetschl's rival for the overall World Cup title in women's skiing, Austrian teammate Michaela Dorfmeister, is in a slump.

The 24-year-old Goetschl completed a very productive weekend Sunday by winning a Super-G race.

On Friday, she won a downhill; on Saturday, she was second in another Super-G.

All this makes Goetschl the overwhelming favorite for the title, with six races left on the schedule.

Three days of racing on the course outside Innsbruck made famous in Austria by Franz Klammer's gold-medal downhill run at the 1976 Olympics produced a total of 280 points for Goetschl.

Coming into the weekend, Goetschl held a 56-point lead. Going away, she is 222 points ahead of Dorfmeister. A victory is worth 100 points, second place is worth 80.

Goetschl has won three of the last four races; she also took last weekend's downhill in Are, Sweden.

``I am not really thinking about it, I am taking it as it comes,'' Goetschl said. ``I am racing every race with full power.

``I don't think it's over yet. We'll have to wait until Bormio.'' The Italian resort is the venue of the World Cup finals, when the title could be decided.

Dorfmeister seemed resigned after finishing a distant 12th Sunday.

``I've written off the World Cup title and I have to concentrate on trying to protect my second place now,'' she said.

Goetschl has 1,333 points, Dorfmeister 1,111.

The versatile Goetschl is capable of picking up points in all events, while Dorfmeister has not gained a single point this season in slalom, which she seldom races.

One canceled giant slalom in Germany that won't be rescheduled also hurt her chances. Giant slalom has been Dorfmeister's strongest event this season.

Goetschl is racing with such confidence that she was able to shrug off Saturday's relative setback and bounce back Sunday.

She powered down the Olympia Patscherkofel course in 1 minute, 33.62 seconds to reverse her defeat Saturday by Melanie Turgeon of Canada.

Turgeon, who notched her first World Cup victory a day earlier, had to settle for second place Sunday, .16 seconds behind Goetschl.

Mojca Suhadolc of Slovenia, who won the season's opening Super-G, finished third, .20 seconds behind Goetschl.

``I knew that probably she wasn't too happy with second place, and she really charged all the way,'' Turgeon said. ``She has been racing so well the entire season.''

``I'm really happy with second place, I really like this mountain,'' said Turgeon, who completed her most successful weekend on the circuit.

Goetschl also extended her lead in Super-G standings. She has 454 points, 137 more than Turgeon, who moved into second place. There are two Super-G races left.

Copyright (c) 2000 The Associated Press