Deneriaz, Goetschl Win Final Downhill; Rahlves, Clark Take Third


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KVITFJELL, Norway March 12, 2003 (AP Stephan Nasstrom)–France’s Antoine Deneriaz won his second downhill event of the season Wednesday, narrowly beating World Cup overall leader Stephan Eberharter, and Austria’s Michaela Dorfmeister won the women’s downhill title with a sixth-place finish.

Racing in windy conditions that forced organizers to shorten the Olympiabakken by nearly 1,300 feet, Deneriaz finished in 1 minute, 28.37 seconds, 0.17 ahead of Eberharter.

American Dahron Rahlves, who won consecutive downhills here three years ago for his first World Cup victories, finished third, 0.21 back. Bode Miller was 25th out of 27 finishers and finished out of the points.

Renate Goetschl, Dorfmeister’s teammate, won the women’s race on Lillehammer’s Olympic hill in 1:35.32, and missed the downhill title by four points.

Dorfmeister won the downhill title with 372 points. Goetschl had 368.

“In the finishing area, I didn’t know I had won the downhill title before I was told,” said Dorfmeister, who also beat Goetschl for the overall title last year. “It was a big goal of mine … an important victory.”

American Kirsten Clark, who was third in the race, was also third in the standings with 316 points.

“This season has been great for me, I’ve been consistent,” said Clark, who scored points in every race. “Being third in the standings is definitely exciting.”

France’s Ingrid Jacquemod, who had the fastest runs in training, finished second, 0.32 seconds behind Goetschl.

Deneriaz believes he was aided by the shortened course.

“I didn’t ski well on the top of the hill in training,” he said. “I couldn’t have dreamed of a better result.”

Deneriaz, who had the fastest training run Tuesday, won a World Cup downhill at Val Gardena, Italy, in December 2002. He finished eighth at the World Championships last month, and finished 35th in the last World Cup race at Garmisch, Germany.

Eberharter, who had clinched the downhill title, increased his lead over Miller in the overall standings to 173 points.

“I tried to go as fast as I could,” Miller said. “That’s what I’ve been doing all season. But it’s a pretty difficult course for me.”

Three races remain, including a Super G on Thursday and a giant slalom and slalom this weekend.

France’s Nicolas Burtin was fourth, 0.37 back, followed by Norway’s Kjetil-Andre Aamodt, who was 0.78 behind the winner.

Eberharter topped the final men’s downhill standings with 790 points. Rahlves was second with 593.

For more information about the World Cup Finals from Kvitfjell, Norway, visit http://www.lillehammer2003.no

Copyright © 2000 The Associated Press