Men Return to Speed Events in Kitzbuehel


Kitzbuehel, Austria, Jan. 17, 2001--The men's side of the Cafe de Colombia World Cup schedule, which hasn't seen a downhill or super G in more than a month, hopes to get back on a speed track this week during the traditional Hahnenkamm festivities in Kitzbuehel.

"The snow's great and the hill's in great shape," U.S. Head Coach Bill Egan said Wednesday night following the second day of downhill training. Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA), who was fourth Tuesday, again led American racers in eighth place.

"The guys are training well. It's nice to have a couple of runs," he added, noting Chad Fleischer (Vail, CO) was eighth Tuesday in the first training run and several others had top-30 results. "It's still just training, but they're all glad to get back on skis."

The last World Cup speed event was Dec. 16 in Val d'Isere, France, when Italian Alessandro Fattori was the surprise downhill winner in the second of two races moved from Val Gardena, Italy, during the pre-Christmas snow drought in Europe. Two days of rain and fog in Wengen, Switzerland, last weekend prolonged the speed drought until now.

The weekend schedule:

Friday - super G
Saturday - downhill
Sunday - slalom (and combined calculation)

In addition to Rahlves and Fleischer, the U.S. lineup is expected to include Jake Fiala (Breckenridge, CO), Casey Puckett (Aspen, CO) and Bode Miller (Franconia, NH). Chris Puckett (Boulder, CO), who missed December's races with knee problems, is in Kitzbuehel but still experiencing some pain, Egan said.

The U.S. men's team for the World Championships, which open Jan. 28 in St. Anton, Austria, will be announced following the weekend.