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January 29, 2006
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP by Erica Bulman)—Christoph Gruber of Austria enjoyed two victories, winning a men’s World Cup super-G and locking up an Olympic berth.
Shrugging off a scary crash in Saturday’s downhill, Gruber smacked into several gates but held on for his fourth career win, 0.82 seconds ahead than American Scott Macartney.
The Austrian finished in 1 minute, 26.52 seconds on the rough Kandahar course. Norwegian veteran Kjetil-Andre Aamodt was third in 1:27.37. Hermann Maier, who won Saturday’s downhill, finished fourth.
American Daron Rahlves lost time in the upper portion of the course and finished out of the top 10.
“Before coming here I had already ticked the box ‘No Olympics,’ Gruber said. “Because you cannot bet on the last super-G in Garmisch just because you’ve always done well in Garmisch.”
Macartney, a first-time podium finisher, is the seventh American to record a top-three result this year. He joins a list that includes reigning overall champion Bode Miller, Rahlves, Ted Ligety, Julia Mancuso, Lindsey Kildow and Caroline Lalive.
Miller, the reigning overall champion, skipped the German races to rest ahead of the Turin Olympics.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Macartney said. “I went down first and hung onto the lead for a while. It seemed my run was better and better as everyone came down. The course when I went was very smooth and grippy and I could go wherever I wanted to. At the bottom, other people were losing a lot of time.”[pagebreak]Macartney is qualified for the super-G at the Turin Olympics with Miller, Rahlves and Steve Nyman. He plans to race the combined with Miller, Nyman and Ligety.
Macartney, Nyman and Marco Sullivan are vying for the two remaining downhill spots. Rahlves and Miller have secured their spots
Gruber is pleased he didn’t get injured in Saturday’s crash.
“I had a great run today, but I was very fortunate not to have injured myself yesterday when I lost the ski,” said Gruber, who lost it midway through Saturday’s race. “I tried everything not to fall heavily.”
All three of Gruber’s super-G wins have come at this classic resort, including last year and in 2001. He also won a giant slalom in Bormio in the 2000-01 season.
Aamodt set a record for World Cup starts, entering his 438th race. The new father overtook Marc Giradelli of Luxembourg, who had 437.
“My baby girl was just born one week ago. I’m going to the airport now to go home and maybe find out her name,” Aamodt said.
Maier’s finish lifted him to the top of the super-G standings with 232 points. Aksel Lund Svindal, who finished 20th, fell to second with 224 points. Hannes Reichelt of Austria is third at 221.
Austrian Benjamin Raich, who was 18th, still leads the overall standings with 965 points. Michael Walchhofer is second with 770, followed by Maier (735) and Rahlves (727).
Miller is fifth with 688 points.
Maier, entering his 200th career World Cup race, received a pair of self-autographed and limited edition “Hermann Maier 200” skis.
Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press