Eberharter wins, Maier leads points
KVITFJELL, Norway – Defending World Cup overall and downhill champion Stephan Eberharter of Austria stole the spotlight Saturday from Bode Miller of Franconia, N.H., and Austrian teammate Hermann Maier, winning the next-to-last World Cup downhill of the season to clinch his third straight downhill title. Daron Rahlves of Sugar Bowl, Calif., finished fourth, Maier was ninth and reclaimed the overall points lead with five races remaining as Miller tied for 26th.
Eberharter won the 11th of 12 downhills with a time of 1 minute, 43.41 seconds, over the 3K Olympiabakken run, edging teammate and Olympic DH champion Fritz Strobl by .04 seconds. Rahlves finished in 1:43.86 with Miller tied for 26th in 1:45.07. Maier has 1,105 points to 1,089 for Miller and 1,061 for Eberharter with Austrian Benjamin Raich, who was 17th in the DH, dropping back a spot to fourth (1,013). Rahlves is third in the downhill points, 10 points behind Maier as he looks to equal last year’s USA-best second-place finish.
In his first season of full-time World Cup racing, Bryon Friedman of Park City, Utah, was 33rd and missed World Cup Finals by a single point. World Cup Finals participants are the top 25 in each discipline plus the World Juniors Championships gold medalist; Friedman finished 27th following a tie for 25th place.
“It was a beating all around today,” said U.S. DH/SG Head Coach John McBride, a reference to Miller dropping back in the points, Rahlves just missing the podium and Friedman just missing World Cup Finals. “Bode had some trouble on the top and lost a lot at the bottom, too. I thought ‘D’ (Rahlves) really pulled it together, though, from training and skied another good one. He likes this hill (holding two downhill victories, two top-5s in super G)
“And I’m not sure where Bryon lost it. He skied really well where I was and he said he felt good. It’s tough to miss it by a point but maybe it’ll make a point with him – and anyone else – that every race counts. You can’t give away any points,” the coach said.
The Kvitfjell weekend ends Sunday with super G and then it’s on to World Cup Finals in Sestriere, Italy, for the last four races of the season.
Fog postpones moguls 24 hours
AIROLO, Switzerland – After several hours of delays, heavy fog forced organizers Saturday to postpone a World Cup moguls contest. The event was rescheduled for Sunday, replacing a scheduled duals moguls event as the World Cup makes its debut in Airolo near the Italian border, at the southern end of the St. Gotthard Tunnel and north of Locarno and Lake Maggiore.