Heavy Winds Shuts Down Women's World Cup Training

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SANTA CATERINA, Italy (AP)--Training for a Women's World Cup downhill race was canceled today because of swirling winds.

The International Ski Federation said the downhill race will remain scheduled for Thursday, because skiers were able to get in practice runs Tuesday.

``It was impossible to see today. The wind kept kicking up snow from the trees along the piste,'' said Italy's Isolde Kostner, the World Cup downhill standings leader.

The Cevedale piste will also host a super-G Friday and slalom Saturday.

The three were originally slated to be run last month on the mountain in Salt Lake City where the 2002 Olympics events will be staged, but a lack of snow there led organizers to move the World Cup races to Santa Caterina.

A succession of races have been delayed or canceled in recent weeks because of weather conditions.

The women haven't competed since Sweden's Anna Ottosson won a giant slalom at Cortina D'Ampezzo, Italy, on Jan. 23. A super-G was canceled there because of gale-force winds, and two races scheduled in Zwiesel, Germany, a week later, were also scrapped.

Russia's Warwara Zelenskaja was fastest in Tuesday's practice session, clocking 1 minute, 27.21 seconds. Regina Haeusl of Germany was next in 1:27.39, and overall World Cup points leader Michaela Dorfmeister third in 1:27.44.

Kostner, who is fighting back pain, was ninth Tuesday in 1:28.10. Copyright (c) 2000 The Associated Press