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Dorfmeister Takes World Cup Downhill Lead with Win


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INNSBRUCK, Austria March 1, 2003 (AP)–Michaela Dorfmeister won a World Cup downhill race Saturday but was more concerned about Caroline Lalive.

Lalive broke two ribs, injured her back and tore ligaments in her right knee in a crash after crossing the finish line in 24th place. The American caught a ski in the snow, causing her to twist and fall headfirst.

She slid into a barrier in the finish area, where she was hit in the head with one ski, and in the back with the other.

Dorfmeister, who won the race in 1 minute, 31.51 seconds on the Patscherkofel course, was in the finish area when Lalive crashed.

“My instinct told me to run to her. Caroline was in a very bad state,” Dorfmeister said. “I opened her boots and took her goggles off. She could not say much, but she seemed confident.”

Lalive was taken to the Innsbruck University clinic for surgery on her knee. An assistant to surgeon Peter Seykora provided no further information on Lalive’s condition.

Lalive’s injuries did not appear to be career-threatening, according to Austrian ski team medical chief Brigitte Auer.

The 23-year-old Lalive is known as one of the most frequent crashers in the sport. She failed to finish 10 straight races last year, including at the Salt Lake City Olympics.

Dorfmeister led Austria to a 1-2 finish and moved into first place in the discipline’s standings. She edged young teammate Katja Wirth by 0.45 seconds. Hilde Gerg of Germany finished third, 0.54 seconds behind.

Dorfmeister, the defending Super G world champion, capitalized on rising temperatures. Her rivals, such as American Kirsten Clark, France’s Carole Montillet and Austria’s Renate Goetschl, prefer icier slopes.

“It was four degrees warmer today than on Friday, which was an advantage for me. I was three seconds faster than in training,” Dorfmeister said after her 16th career win. “Thanks to my waxing team my ski was so incredibly fast, I was happy not to have made any major mistake.”

Wirth, who had won just one point in the downhill after finishing 30th in Lake Louise, Canada, was a surprise second.

“I am all excited. I was quite successful in the European Cup series, winning the downhill,” she said. “It gave me a lot of self-confidence and I had nothing to lose, so I thought, I will just let the skis race on and see how it goes.”

Gerg finished third despite racing with a torn cruciate ligament.

“I am super happy to race that well again after my injuries. My knee still hurts, but it’s getting better,” the 1998 Olympic slalom champion said.

Dorfmeister leads the downhill standings with 332 points after seven races. Montillet finished seventh and slipped from first to second in the standings with 281 points. Goetschl finished fourth in the downhill and was third in the standings with 268 points.

In the overall World Cup standings, Dorfmeister moved into second place behind Croatia’s Janica Kostelic.

Kostelic, who placed 12th in the downhill, leads with 1,380 points, well ahead of Dorfmeister’s 847.

Copyright © 2000 The Associated Press