Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria March 6, 2002 (USSA)--Austrian Stephan Ebharter swept to victory Wednesday in the final FIS World Cup downhill of the season formally taking the men's downhill and overall crowns he had clinched last weekend. American Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA), mired in the 20th start position, didn't have much of a chance with warm temperatures and finished 20th. World Junior downhill champ Adam Cole (Park City, UT) was 25th in his first World Cup.
Eberharter, starting seventh, won in 1:41.80 over number one starter Ambrosi Hoffmann of Switzerland in 1:42.07. Austrian Hannes Trinkl was third. Rahlves, who is not in the top-15 in the World Cup start list and unable to pick his start, went out 20th and finished in the same position, 3.30 seconds off Eberharter's pace as temperatures soared during the race, especially in the lower two-thirds of the course.
"You just didn't have a chance back there," said Rahlves. "All the way down, you could just feel the snow pulling at your skis."
"It was really tough," said Cole, who a week ago hadn't dreamed of getting a World Cup start. "But this was a great experience for me. It will definitely help me get focused this summer. I want to be back!" Cole earned his start with the World Junior downhill title he won a week ago.
The win was a formality for Eberharter, who had already wrapped up both the downhill and overall World Cup title.
The men go at it again Thursday in the super G, this time starting earlier with the women later. Start time is 9:30 a.m. local time with Rahlves and Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) the U.S. entrants.