Maier Reclaims Points Lead with Garmisch Super G

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GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany, Feb. 1 2004 - Austrian Hermann Maier, the master of the super G, earned the 45th victory of his career Sunday - his first in nearly two months - and reclaimed the World Cup points lead in a super G on the Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain. A tired Daron Rahlves had the best U.S. result, finishing 14th.

On the third straight day of speed racing, and after teammate and (now former) points leader Benjamin Raich skied out, Maier won with a time of 1:18.09; his victory puts him one behind Marc Girardelli, the Austrian who skied for Luxembourg. He has won 18 super Gs, including two this season; he won a super G at Lake Louise in November and a downhill Dec. 6 at the Chevy Truck Birds of Prey World Cups in Beaver Creek, Colo. Frenchman Patrick Dalcin, whose best result coming into this season was fifth, was second in 1:18.16.

Rahlves, who has battled a cold all week, had problems with the lower lower half of the run and finished in 1:18.95. Bode Miller was 18th. Jake Fiala was 26th with Bryon Friedman 36th.

"I was feeling good but also a little beat," Rahlves said, explaining that finishing second Friday in the first of two downhills took a lot out of him on top of the cold he's fought in the past week. Speaking of Saturday's dowhill, she said: "I had nothing. It was a battle. Today, I had a little more punch at the top."

However, Rahlves said, he got off-line on a jump in the middle of the course and couldn't make-up time at the bottom. "I'm dragging right now," he said, adding he plans to take a couple of down-time days to decide if he'll run in the next race, a giant slalomm because he wants to be ready for a downhill Feb. 14 in St. Anton, Austria. "That's one I'll be ready for," Rahlves said.

The men's tour heads next to Adelboden, Switzerland, for a giant slalom and slalom Feb. 7-8.