Strobl Dominates Downhill Training

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Wengen, Switzerland, Jan. 12 (AP)--Josef Strobl posted the fastest time as Austrians dominated training Wednesday for the weekend's World Cup downhill on the dangerous Lauberhorn course.

Strobl covered the longest and one of the most challenging courses on the World Cup circuit in 2 minutes, 32.05 seconds.

Despite the absence of World Cup leader Hermann Maier, who skipped the session, Austrians posted the top three times. Stephan Eberharter was second-fastest at 2:32.90 and Werner Franz third at 2:33.07.

Italy's Kristian Ghedina, a winner and a second-place finisher in a downhill doubleheader at Val Gardena last month, was fourth-fastest at 2:33.09. Ghedina, the winner here in 1995 and 1997, was followed by another Austrian, Fritz Strobl, fifth at 2:33.38.

Switzerland's Bruno Kernen, the 1997 downhill world champion, placed sixth at 2:33.39.

Seven Austrians were among the top-10 fastest of the day, with Hannes Trinkl, the winner of a downhill at Lake Louise in December, placing seventh, Peter Rzehak ninth and Hans Knauss 10th.

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