Are, Sweden March 9, 2001 (USSA)--It took almost six and a half hours because of fog in the middle of the Olympic course and it cost the men their final super G of the season, but organizers of World Cup Finals were able to get the women's super G held - and CorinneRey-Bellet of Switzerland won it.
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After eight delays in the start, spread over more than five hours, organizers gave up on the men's race and canceled it; the race wasto have begun at 9:30 a.m. (3:30 a.m. EST) and it was shortly before 3 p.m. (9 a.m. EST) when they finally swung their attention to thewomen's course. An hour later, everything was complete.
"Yeah, five minutes after we canceled it started to clear up and it was okay for the women. It was too bad for Daron Rahlves, SugarBowl, CA," said a dejected U.S. men's Coach Bill Egan. "We lost four speed races because of the weather and that really screws up thepoints...
"I just hope we can get the races in Saturday - men's GS, women's slalom. It looks like we might be getting snow."
While racers were in sunshine at the start, the course was trapped in fog - it was just above freezing at the start but in the low 20s(-5 C.) at the bottom of the course, creating the pea-soup conditions that made it unsafe for racers.
Rey-Bellet, running No. 2, finished in 1:09.52 with Melanie Turgeon of Canada second in 1:10.21. Completing the podium was RegineCavagnoud of France, who won the super title at World Championships and clinched the World Cup crown a couple of weeks ago; hertime was 1:10.27. Kirsten Clark (Raymond, ME) was one of nine DNFs in the field of 21 racers.
Women's World Cup leader Janica Kostelic of Croatia edged closer to the overall title as she finished sixth, .09 ahead of defendingoverall champion Renate Goetschl of Austria, who was seventh. Going into the weekend, with a slalom Saturday and giant slalomSunday, Kostelic - who is 8-for-8 in SL in her comeback from knee surgery in December 1999 - has 1,232 points and Goetschl - whofell Friday in one of her strongest events, downhill - has 1,189.
With cancellation of the men race, Austrian Hermann Maier saw his chance to tie or overtake Ingemar Stenmark for most victories ina season; Maier, who has a dozen victories for the season but doesn't ski slalom, has Saturday's GS to catch the legendary Swede.