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Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria Jan. 11, 2002 (AP by Marsha Hill)–Hilde Gerg of Germany won the first of back-to-back women’s World Cup downhills Friday on the tight Zwoelferkogl course.
Gerg blew out of the start and hardly moved out of her deep tuck position, finishing in1 minute, 21.14 seconds.
“I knew I had to risk a lot and that’s what I did,” Gerg said after her second victory of the season and the 13th in a career spanning a decade.
Pernilla Wiberg of Sweden, who started in the 20th spot, was second in 1:21.26, an encouraging return to top form as the Salt Lake City Olympics approach.
“I felt in training that I was going well and I knew I had good skis today,” Wiberg said. “I am 90 percent sure this will be my last season, so I have to really fight this year.”
Isolde Kostner of Italy, leader in the downhill World Cup this season, was third in 1:21.29.
Among U.S. racers, Picabo Street was 10th at 1:21.85, followed by Kirstin Clark in 11th (1:21.88), Caroline Lalive in 20th (1:22.40), Kathleen Monahan in 27th (1:22.86), Lindsey Kildow in 33rd (1:23.06) and Julia Mancuso, in 43rd (1:24.19). Jonna Mendes did not finish.
The second downhill Saturday, together with Sunday’s slalom, counts toward the paper combined race, which carries equal World Cup points.
Kostner has 340 points in the downhill, while Sylviane Berthold of Switzerland is second at 252. Gerg shares third place with Rey Bellet at 210.
Anja Paerson of Sweden, with four consecutive slalom wins and a string of points in giant slalom, leads the overall standings with 609 points, followed by Sonja Nef of Switzerland (521) and Michaela Dorfmeister of Austria (488). Kristina Koznick of Eden Prairie, Minn., is ninth at 299. 1st Ld-Writethru XtremeSports
Copyright © 2000 The Associated Press