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ALTENMARKT-ZAUCHENSEE, Austria, Jan. 15 (AP by Jan Sliva) _ About halfway down the slope, Corinne Rey Bellet realized she had some work to do if she was to have any chance to win a World Cup downhill race Saturday.
So, she dug in, skied hard and wound up with her first victory of the season.
“Today, I proved I’m a fighter,” the Swiss skier said. “And I have to thank my serviceman who did a miracle with my skis.
A speed-discipline specialist whose previous season-best result was third in the downhill at Lake Louise, Alberta, blitzed down the hard, icy Kaelberloch course in 1 minute, 34.47 seconds. It was the third victory of her career.
Competing in ideal weather conditions under bright sunlight, Bellet Rey had only the fourth-best intermediate time. But she was by far the fastest on the bottom, technical portion of the course.
Germany’s Regina Haeusl finished second in 1:34.62, followed by her teammate, Martina Ertl, in 1:35.11.
Ertl, who won a Super-G here two years ago, was among the favorites. She started slowly, but worked her way up on the bottom part of the slope for her first podium finish of the season.
“After the training, I knew I could finish pretty high up today,” the German said. “I’m happy to be among the top three again.”
The odds-on choice to win, Isolde Kostner of Italy, erred mightily and wound up 19th _ a staggering 1.51 seconds behind the winner.
The circuit’s top speedster, who excelled in practice the previous two days, fell after a jump halfway down the course and slid on her back for several seconds before recovering.
Austria’s Michaela Dorfmeister, 15th in the race, retained the overall World Cup lead with 685 points. Her compatriot, Renate Goetschl, is second with 586, followed by Kostner at 493.