Santa Caterina, Italy Feb. 11--World Cup leader Michaela Dorfmeisterof Austria, noting it was "something I need for my head" (motivation),took charge of a World Cup super G Friday despite steady snow andcollected her fifth win of the season. Kirsten Clark (Raymond, ME) hadthe best U.S. result, finishing 20th.
Dorfmeister's favorite events are the speed races, but her other fourwins this winter have come - for the first time in her career - in giantslalom. Friday, she finished in 1:34.46, early a half-second up onRegine Cavagnoud of France (1:34.91). Third place went to World Cup SGleader Renate Goetschl of Austria with a 1:35.19 time.
Clark - who hung-up her first World Cup top-10 Thursday, finishingninth in a downhill - was 20th in the SG. Caroline Lalive (SteamboatSprings, CO) - who already had scored World Cup points in SL, GS anddownhill this season - added her first SG points, finishing 29th;Saturday, she'll try to collect World Cup points in combined, too, asthe slalom will be twinned with the DH from Thursday for a combinedtally. Jonna Mendes (Heavenly, CA) was 34th and Alison Powers (WinterPark, CO) missed a gate in the tough light at the top of the course. Thepoor visibility helped cause 13 of the 51 racers to be DNFs.
"Today was really tough," said U.S. DH/SG Head Coach Jim Tracy. "It wassteady snow and the light got expletive deleted....I couldn't see thetop of the course. Kirsten got a little straight in a couple of places -at the bottom of a turn, she made a couple of mistakes, but it wassnowing all the time and that killed your speed for the flats if you hadthe slightest mistake. You just couldn't afford any bobbles.
"And for 'Liner' Lalive to come out of second to last - skiing 50th -in these conditions was outstanding. She skied well. We knew she'd getin there in super G and today she did it in minimal conditions. Goodshow, Caroline."
The clear weather from the downhill moved on during the night and itwas cloudy when the team awoke at dawn and it was snowing as they headedto the course - "and then it got worse and worse, all through the race,"Tracy said. "It was one of those days where the girls at the back didn'tstand much of a chance to move up."
Powers, who won a Europa Cup super G and had a second and fourth in twoother races, got caught between bounces on the weather and flat light."Alison's doing a great job - she's moved up to the B Team with hersolid skiing; she's 50th in the world in super G, 66th in downhill,"Tracy went on, "and she's paying her dues. She'll such a great kid andshe's gonna be fine. She's picking up the experience she needs."
The Santa Caterina races are makeups for the cluster of races wiped outby poor snow at Utah's Snowbasin, the 2002 Olympic DH/SG/CO venue.Saturday, the women have slalom and combined, and then head to Are,Sweden.