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Italy's Ghedina Poised to Win Downhill

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Val Gardena, Italy, Dec. 17 (AP by Vania Grandi)–Kristian Ghedina of Italy hopes to stop Austria’s domination of the World Cup downhill.

“There are so many fast Austrians,” he said after finishing with the fastest training time Thursday. “But they are not unbeatable.”

Ghedina crushed the field by nearly half a second Thursday. But a victory in training does not always translate into a win on race day.

“I have to really attack tomorrow and make the least possible number of errors,” Ghedina said. “The track is fast and a single mistake can cost you the race.”

Ghedina is a two-time winner in Val Gardena: 1997 and then again last season.

On Thursday, he flashed down the bumpy 2.2-mile Saslong course at speeds up to 85 mph, clocking a time of 2 minutes, 6.81 seconds.

Austria’s Roland Assinger, who hasn’t been on the podium since 1996, was second in 2:07.29.

Hermann Maier, the World Cup downhill, super-G and overall leader, finished a mediocre sixth at 2:08.01.

Jakub Fiala of Breckenridge, Colo., was the top American, 16th at 2:08.81.

Copyright (c) 1999 The Associated Press