Italy’s Innerhofer wins World Cup downhill
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany – Christof Innerhofer of Italy won his third World Cup downhill of the season Saturday, on a course where he has a history of good results.
Innerhofer topped three Austrians to earn his sixth career victory, covering the 1.6-mile Kandahar course in 1 minute, 37.83 seconds to beat Georg Streitberger by 0.12 seconds.
“It’s like a home run for me, I have nice memories from here,” Innerhofer said.
Streitberger was the 30th runner out of the gate – last of the top skiers – and Innerhofer wiped his brow symbolically when the Austrian crossed the line.
Klaus Kroell, the defending World Cup downhill champion, was 0.16 seconds back in third. Streitberger has two career wins in the super-G, but this was his first podium in a downhill.
Hannes Reichelt was fourth and world champion Asked Lund Svindal of Norway finished fifth.
The top American finisher was Marco Sullivan at 19th in 1:38.95.
The Kandahar course was shortened after heavy snow during the past few days made the preparation of the entire run impossible, but was still longer than the super-G slope.
Innerhofer failed to win a medal at the world championships last week, but he won three medals when the worlds were held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 2011 – gold in the super-G, silver in the super-combined and bronze in the downhill.
“I am more motivated when I go to the start here, and I also have many fans here,” Innerhofer said.
The Italian has four career downhill wins in the World Cup.
Innerhofer prefers to race in good weather and the conditions played in his favor, after two days of fog and heavy snow in the buildup to the downhill.
“I could take double the amount of risks because I know I always do well here,” Innerhofer said.
Innerhofer improved to third place in downhill standings, behind Svindal and Domink Paris of Italy. Svindal surged past Paris and is 10 points ahead of him and 15 points ahead of Innerhofer, with two downhill races remaining in the season.
Svindal is 169 points behind overall World Cup leader Marcel Hirscher of Austria, who did not race in the downhill. Hirscher can extend his lead in Sunday’s giant slalom.
The Austrians had a good showing after failing to medal in the downhill at the worlds at home.
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