December 20, 2006
VAL D’ISERE, FRANCE – (USST News Bureau Release) – Lindsey Kildow (Vail, CO) and Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) finished 1-2 Wednesday in a World Cup downhill, extending the U.S. Ski Team’s streak to six days in a row with at least one athlete on the podium. It was the second straight win by a U.S. woman. Kildow, who missed one race on the weekend and didn’t finish another because of stomach flu, led all the way as she rocketed down the Oreiller-Killy speed track to win in 1:38.06 and fatten her lead as the women’s World Cup DH points leader. She shaved more than a second off the time (1:39.30) put up by Mancuso, who won Tuesday’s DH on the same course – with Kildow third – for the first victory of her career.
“After yesterday’s downhill, today’s mission was pretty clear for me. I just wanted to ski well, and better than yesterday where I made some stupid mistakes,” Kildow said. “I wasn’t feeling really comfortable because I hadn’t finished the training run (Monday). But today it wasn’t the same story, I knew exactly what I had to do and I just executed my plan.”
WCSN.com will provide triple race coverage – broadcasting video streaming at 11 a.m. ET of Tuesday’s race and same-day streaming of the men’s super G from Hinterstoder, Austria, at 4 p.m. ET and Kildow’s victory at 5 p.m. ET.
Kildow’s second win in Val d’Isere
The win was Kildow’s sixth, her second this season…and came almost a year to the day (Dec. 17, 2005) after she won another Val d’Isere downhill with Caroline Lalive (Steamboat Springs, CO) in second place. In that one, she also won a cow, which she kept and is having raised at the U.S. women’s European base in Kirchberg, Austria; Val d’Isere organizers, surprised by her decision a year ago to keep it, are awarding a big wheel of cheese to this year’s winners – “but they’ve said it’s from my cow,” Kildow laughed.
Swedish great Anja Paerson (1:39.50) completed the podium with the two Americans. Kirsten Clark (Raymond, ME), who tied for 22nd a day earlier, was 13th in the 15-degree sunshine, the only other U.S. woman to crack the top 30.
The race was a makeup for one originally scheduled in St. Moritz, Switzerland that was canceled because of poor snow. Recent snows in Val d’Isere have boosted conditions and made for a very fast track, Kildow and Mancuso said. Tuesday, the women’s run was a 2.5K track; Wednesday, organizers had extended it to a 2.8K course.
Kildow used the same formula as her teammate the previous day, leading from the time she charged out of the gate. She led by 0.17 seconds at the first timing split, hit 122.3kph and boosted her lead to .43, then .79, By midrace, she was more than a second ahead of the field (1.03) and bumped that to 1:35 at the next-to-last split, zipped through the final speed trap at> 123.8kph – more than 75mph – and cruised to her second DH of the young season. At Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies, she also won the second of two downhills.
Success breeds success
“I’m so happy with the performance I had today. This victory means more confidence and that if I have a plan and I stick to it, good things will happen. I’m just going to keep working hard and hopefully it will stay like this for the rest of the season,” Kildow said.
“I knew the way to correct yesterday’s run and to fix it for today’s leg. It wasn’t anything complicated and above all it was a lack of confidence. My self-confidence was not as high as I had it in the past. Usually we had three training runs and plenty of time to get the right feeling, and there is obviously a huge difference when you can train only one day like it was the case on Monday.
“I come out and fight everyday. If I’m not fast, it’s because I’m not confident or I don’t feel comfortable. I know what to do,” Kildow continued, “and I’ve been working hard my whole life to do well each day. So far, it’s paying off.
“I love going fast; thhat’s why I do downhill. I just love it. As long as I’m on the podium, I feel good. I feel my speed is good and my energy is coming back. It’s just like Lake Louise (she’s won twice there, including a DH Dec. 2) again. It’s awesome.”
Mancuso skied 21st, as she had done Tuesday, and had to wait for Kildow, again running 30th and normally the final threat to overtake the leader. And this time she did it. Mancuso, still buoyant after a weekend in which both of them were sick in Austria and then she won in Val d’Isere’s first DH, had no problems with the result.
“It’s always good when the last person to ski down is your teammate because I don’t really have anything to worry about,” she explained. “Of course, I want to win but being second in the second downhill is a great achievement.
Mancuso: Second is “sweet,” too
“I didn’t ski as well as yesterday. I got bumped around a lot and the light was flat, but I still nailed a lot of sections and it feels really sweet to be in second,” the Olympic GS champio said.
Reflecting on four podiums in two days for her and Kildow – and the overall success of the U.S. squad including three wins and two other podiums in five races by the men, she said, “We can keep on rolling. All it takes is a little momentum. It’s exciting. I’m stoked for everyone.”
Speed Head Coach Alex Hoedlmoser smiled again and noted, “I said yesterday Julia had the devil on her back when she won and Lindsey would have it today…and, for sure, she did. They both skied great. I also was psyched with Kirsten’s performance; she had some little wobbles in the middle – there was a key turn coming into the Meadows and she was a little late, but she pulled it off and was charging.”
Snow conditions, he said, “were pretty manmade – really, really compact and pretty aggressive. It’s not slick but it’s aggressive – you had to be on top of your skis, not using a whole lot of edge – and even coming down after the race, the snow still was perfect.”
The unprecedented podium parade by U.S. skiers began last Friday when Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH) won a super G in Val Gardena, Italy; Saturday, Steve Nyman (Provo, UT) captured his first World Cup victory in a downhill in Val Gardena. Sunday, Miller was second in a giant slalom in Alta Badia, Italy, and Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) made it four straight days of a podium for the U.S. Ski Team by finishing second in a slalom, also in Alta Badia. And then Mancuso and Kildow took over, running the historic string to podiums by five skiers in six days. (When Miller won a super G in Hinterstoder, Austria, about an hour and a half after the women’s race ended Wednesday, it made nine U.S. top-3s in seven races – at least one in each race – in six days.)
The women complete their pre-Christmas schedule Thursday with a slalom in Val d’Isere.