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Clark Sixth, Leads Four into Top 20 at Val d'Isere SG


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VAL d’ISERE, France Dec. 13, 2002 (USSA)–Unmoved by any potential Friday the 13th influences, Kirsten Clark (Raymond, ME) finished sixth Friday, leading four U.S. women into the top 20 of a World Cup super G won by Olympic downhill champion Carole Montillet, who nailed the top portion and posted a time of 1:07.46 with Olympic SG gold medalist Daniela Ceccarelli of Italy in second place.

Outdoor Life Network will carry race coverage Saturday 3-5 pm. EST, with its 3 p.m. broadcast of Thursday’s giant slalom in which four U.S. women broke the top 30, led by Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO) in a tie for eighth place, and the SG at 4 p.m.

It was the second win of the young season for Montillet, who took over the super G points lead after three races and moved back into second place behind Janica Kostelic of Croatia in the overall standings. Clark is fifth overall, fourth in super G.

The top skiers were packed in from start spots 23-30 except for fifth-place finisher Fraenzl Aufdenblatten of Switzerland, who tore out of the No. 45 spot to finish fifth, bumping Clark (1:08.05) back to sixth by .02. Caroline Lalive (Steamboat Springs, CO) was 10th in 1:08.61 with Katie Monahan (Aspen, CO) in 11th, her best result since returining last season after two years on the sidelines with leg problems. Libby Ludlow (Bellevue, WA) started No. 44 and earned her first top 10-20 in 18th place while Jonna Mendes (Heavenly, CA) was 21st.

“It was definitely tight,” Clark said after finally yielding her podium spot reluctantly. “But it was still a good day; we had blue skies but it’s still flat light here in Val d’Isere. The snow was awesome—nice and grippy although there were a couple of bumps still in from (Thursday’s) GS, some cross ruts…but it’s been awesome.

“I think I skied pretty well. I’ve got to look at the video and see if I can find some places to make-up that six-tenths. I’ve been pretty consistently six-tenths back, so I just have to study it a little more.”

With five skiers in the top 30, including Ludlow’s first top-20, she said the team environment is very upbeat. “It’s nice when everyone’s skiing well—that was awesome for Libby; she skied so well all summer and now she’s getting points. It’s a different atmosphere when we come down to eat,” said Clark, the Carrabassett Valley Academy racer who had a string of four straight top-5s in earlier races this season.

The women move to Sestriere, Italy, for the inaugural “knockout” slalom Sunday night.

Criterium des Neiges
Val d’Isere, FRA – Dec. 13
Women’s Super G
1. Carole Montillet, France, 1:07.46
2. Daniela Ceccarelli, Italy, 1:07.69
3. Michaela Dorfmeister, Austria, 1:07.74
4. Renate Goetschl, Austria, 1:07.96
5. Fraenzl Aufdenblatten, Switzerland, 1:08.03

6. Kirsten Clark, Raymond, ME, 1:08.05
10. Caroline Lalive, Steamboat Springs, CO, 1:08.61
11. Katie Monahan, Aspen, CO, 1:08.62
18. Libby Ludlow, Bellevue, WA, 1:09.05
21. Jonna Mendes,Heavenly, CA, 1:09.15

DNF: Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA

World Cup Standings (10 races)
1. Janica Kostelic, Croatia, 485 points
2. Montillet, 401
3. Karen Putzer, Italy, 343
4. Dorfmeister, 302
5. Clark, 277

17T. Lalive, 132
21T. Mendes, 106
28. Sarah Schleper, Vail, CO, 92
41T. Mancuso, 51
48T. Monahan, 39
59T. Kristina Koznick, Burnsville, MN, 27
67T. Ludlow, 24
84T. Bryna McCarty, Concord, VT, 6

Women’s Super G (3 races)
1. Montillet, 178
2. Putzer, 176
3. Dorfmeister, 141
4. Clark, 140
5. Kostelic, 134

10T. Lalive, 68
12. Mendes, 65
24T. Mancuso and Monahan, 25 each
31. Ludlow, 15