Gerg Takes Downhill for 2nd Win of Season

The '02-'03 "State of The Eastern Trees" Report

CORTINA D'AMPEZZO, Italy, Jan. 18, 2004 (AP by Andrew Dampf) -- Hilde Gerg of Germany won a World Cup downhill Saturday and runner-up Renate Goetschl overtook Anja Paerson for first place in the overall standings.

She won in 1 minute, 17.57 seconds on a course shortened slightly because of a snowstorm. Goetschl of Austria was 0.30 seconds behind and Carole Montillet of France was third, 0.39 seconds back.

"I had a perfect run top to bottom," said Gerg, who won a downhill Saturday for her second victory of the season and had two third-place finishes this week.

Two Americans made the top 10. Lindsey Kildow was a career-best fifth and Kirsten Clark, runner-up at this site last year, was sixth, 0.01 seconds behind her teammate. Teammate Caroline Lalive crashed into the fence midway through her run but got right back up.

"I was surprised _ all I wanted was a top 10," said Kildow of Vail, Colorado. "This was good to get my confidence up."

Paerson of Sweden finished 24th and trails Goetschl by a point in the overall standings. Gerg is third , 79 points behind.

Goetschl was coming off a super giant slalom win Friday in which Gerg finished third. Gerg also was third in a super-G Wednesday won by Canada's Genevieve Simard. Simard did not race Saturday after injuring her knee a day earlier.

Gerg leads the downhill and super-G standings. Her previous victory came in a super-G in Veysonnaz, Switzerland, last Sunday. She has three runner-up finishes in downhill this season and led the discipline standings even before Saturday's race.

Gerg thinks Goetschl and Paerson will vie for the overall title.

"You have to always win and it's not so easy because the technical disciplines are coming up now," she said. "I would have to win all the speed events and Anja would have to not win the technical events and that is not very likely."

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