Italy's Ghedina Poised to Win Downhill

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Val Gardena, Italy, Dec. 17 (AP by Vania Grandi)--Kristian Ghedina of Italy hopes to stop Austria's domination of the World Cup downhill.

``There are so many fast Austrians,'' he said after finishing with the fastest training time Thursday. ``But they are not unbeatable.''

Ghedina crushed the field by nearly half a second Thursday. But a victory in training does not always translate into a win on race day.

``I have to really attack tomorrow and make the least possible number of errors,'' Ghedina said. ``The track is fast and a single mistake can cost you the race.''

Ghedina is a two-time winner in Val Gardena: 1997 and then again last season.

On Thursday, he flashed down the bumpy 2.2-mile Saslong course at speeds up to 85 mph, clocking a time of 2 minutes, 6.81 seconds.

Austria's Roland Assinger, who hasn't been on the podium since 1996, was second in 2:07.29.

Hermann Maier, the World Cup downhill, super-G and overall leader, finished a mediocre sixth at 2:08.01.

Jakub Fiala of Breckenridge, Colo., was the top American, 16th at 2:08.81.

Copyright (c) 1999 The Associated Press