Goergl leads Austrian 1-2 finish in WCup downhill
ALTENMARKT-ZAUCHENSEE, Austria -- Elisabeth Goergl beat Anna Fenninger for an Austrian 1-2 finish at a women's World Cup downhill Saturday, ending a two-year drought for the ski-mad nation in the sport's fastest discipline.
Goergl, the 2011 world champion, started 28th after the other top contenders had already gone down but had the fastest time at each interval.
Goergl finished the demanding 3-kilometer Kaelberloch course in 1 minute, 47.45 seconds to deny Fenninger her first career downhill win by 0.56 seconds.
"I know I had a super run. That gives me satisfaction," said Goergl, who also was the last Austrian woman to win a downhill -- in Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria, in January 2012.
"I am glad that I had a smooth run," Goergl said. "Winning isn't the most important to me. What really counts is skiing well. I wasn't able to show that last year."
It was the first 1-2 finish in a World Cup downhill for Austrian women since 2007.
Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany, who has won two downhills this season, came 0.63 behind in third and lost her lead in the overall standings to Fenninger by six points, 677-671. Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein is third with 659 points.
Weirather came 0.91 behind in fourth.
Nicole Hosp, wearing bib No. 31, seemed on her way to make it an Austrian sweep of the podium but was slowed in a couple of turns and took fifth.
Fenninger was regarded as a big favorite, coming off a giant slalom win in Lienz and having posted the fastest time in the only training here on Thursday. She built a huge lead before a costly mistake at a sharp turn just before the finish section.
"I think I took too much risk there," Fenninger said. "I wasn't prepared for that turn. I knew after that mistake my lead might not be enough. I expected Liz (Goergl) to do well. I am just happy with my performance."
Taking the overall World Cup lead didn't mean much to Fenninger, who downplayed her chances of becoming the first Austrian woman since Hosp in 2007 to win the big crystal globe.
"It's just a matter of time before Maria is going to win a lot of points in slalom and then my chances are gone," said Fenninger, who doesn't compete in slalom events.
Hoefl-Riesch set a record by earning her 25th career podium in downhill, making her the only skier -- male or female -- with at least 25 top-three finishes in both downhill and slalom.
"I was happy to see the green light after I crossed the finish line but I knew it most likely wouldn't be enough," Hoefl-Riesch said. "I felt it wasn't a good run in the upper part of the course."
Lara Gut of Switzerland, who has won four events this season, finished 1.34 back 11th. Defending overall champion Tina Maze of Slovenia was another 0.03 back in 12th in her first race under new coach Mauro Pini.
Pini, one of Gut's former coaches, replaced Walter Ronconi in Maze's team this week. Maze said Pini gave her "good feedback on the hill" and would be able to help her regain the form that earned her the overall title last season.
With five-time downhill champion Lindsey Vonn out for the season because of her right knee injury, Julia Mancuso was the fastest American.
Mancuso trailed Goergl by 1.39 in 13th for her best result of the Olympic season.
"It was a good run. You can't expect to change everything in one run," said Mancuso, whose previous best in downhill this season was 20th. "Now I really believe I can win a race. I feel a lot better on my equipment. I skied positive the whole run and was trying to be confident."
A super-combined event, consisting of a super-G and one slalom run, is scheduled for Sunday.
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press
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