Rahlves, Miller give U.S. a lift
KITZBUEHEL, Austria – In a race as treacherous as any and as nerve-racking as the Olympics, Daron Rahlves and Bode Miller gave the United States a big lift leading to next month’s Turin Games.Rahlves finished third in a World Cup downhill Saturday on the perilous Streif course while Miller, the reigning overall World Cup champion, was fourth.”Kitzbuehel is the ultimate in downhill skiing,” said Rahlves, who plans to retire after this season. “There is no place like it in the world. I didn’t win, but being on the podium is still a nice way to go out.”Austria’s Michael Walchhofer of Austria tamed the World Cup’s most prestigious slope with his second downhill victory of the season. Liechtenstein’s Marco Buechel was second, 0.05 seconds behind.Walchhofer was timed in 1 minute, 46.75 seconds on a run shortened because of dangerous fog on the upper part of the Hahnenkamm mountain.Another Austrian, Fritz Strobl, had a far rougher day. He broke his left hand, threatening his chance to defend his Olympic downhill title. He lost control after landing on the tails of his skis during a jump, but found his footing again after smashing through a gate. He was expected to have surgery in Salzburg on Saturday night.U.S. coach John McBride called this race a “great result” for the Americans.”Kitzbuehel is also a high-pressure event like the Olympics,” he said. “So doing well here shows that you have the skill, but also the nerve.”The strong showing came a day after the team failed to impress in the super-G and deflected some of the attention from Miller’s recent comments about skiing and drinking. On Friday, Rahlves was sixth in the super-G while Miller did not finish.”I hoped that yesterday’s bad result would push my guys and make them fight back,” McBride said. “And it did fire them up.”Rahlves has been one of the most successful skiers on the Hahnenkamm. In 2003, he became the first American to win a World Cup downhill there and a year later was the first non-Austrian to claim a World Cup super-G on the slope. This was the seventh time Rahlves was among the top three in Kitzbuehel.With Turin drawing closer, Kildow is far from her peakST. MORITZ, Switzerland – Lindsey Kildow has this uneasy feeling about the Olympics, and she wonders how she can turn things around next month.She finished 17th Saturday in a World Cup downhill won by Austria’s Michaela Dorfmeister. She has failed to finish better than ninth in her last five speed races, troubled by the same problems each time. That does not put her in a good frame of mind with the Turin Games looming.”That’s the thing I’m worried about,” the American star told The Associated Press.The 32-year-old Dorfmeister, in her final season before retirement, won a day after capturing a super-G. The Austrian covered the Corviglia course in 1 minute, 43.76 seconds for her first downhill victory this season and padded her lead in the discipline standings. She has four other top-three downhill results.”To win twice in 24 hours – unbelievable,” said Dorfmeister, who has 24 World Cup victories. “It’s an amazing series. Like a dream. I’m not sure about a triple with the super-combi tomorrow.”Teammate Renate Goetschl was second in 1:43.83 for her first podium of the season. Croatia’s Janica Kostelic, the overall World Cup leader who last week won a downhill for the first time, was third in 1:43.95.Kildow, the winner of two downhills early this season, finished 1.20 behind after losing valuable time on the flats.”Every race I’m losing time on the flats, and it’s not because I’m not a good glider,” she said. “It’s really frustrating because it’s not something I can fix. I can only ski my best and I am skiing my best. I skied really well today and I probably was top two in the turns and I’m just losing so much time in the flats it’s so frustrating.
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