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KITZBUEHEL, Austria Jan. 22, 2004 (AP)–Lasse Kjus of Norway won his first World Cup downhill race in more than four years Thursday and regained the overall standings lead.
Kjus had a near perfect run down the tough Hahnenkamm mountain, finishing in 1 minute, 58.78 seconds _ just .01 seconds ahead of Austria’s Stephan Eberharter, the reigning World Cup overall, downhill and super giant slalom champion.
American Daron Rahlves, last year’s winner, was third in 1:58.98.
“It is incredible to win the race by one-hundredth of a second,” Kjus said. “I have capitalized on my experience. After all, I have been in the business for some time.
“It feels wonderful to be fit and back on form again.”
His first downhill victory since March 1999 at Sierra Nevada helped him overtake Benjamin Raich of Austria in the overall rankings.
Eberharter was the favorite.
“Luck was on my side the last couple of years, so I am not sad,” Eberharter said. “I am actually very happy with my second-place finish. It was really tough today.”
Kjus’ first downhill win on Hahnenkamm came in 1999. He also won three combined events, which add the times from the downhill and a slalom.
Kjus tops the overall World Cup standings with 695 points, six ahead of Raich. His is also third in the downhill standings behind leader Michael Walchhofer, who has 345 points.
Copyright (c) 2000 The Associated Press