Gruber edges Macartney
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany – Christoph Gruber of Austria enjoyed two victories, winning a men’s World Cup super-G and locking up an Olympic berth.Shrugging off a scary crash in Saturday’s downhill, Gruber smacked into several gates but held on for his fourth career win, 0.82 seconds ahead than American Scott Macartney.The Austrian finished in 1 minute, 26.52 seconds on the rough Kandahar course. Norwegian veteran Kjetil-Andre Aamodt was third in 1:27.37. Hermann Maier, who won Saturday’s downhill, finished fourth.American Daron Rahlves lost time in the upper portion of the course and finished out of the top 10.”Before coming here I had already ticked the box ‘No Olympics,’ Gruber said. “Because you cannot bet on the last super-G in Garmisch just because you’ve always done well in Garmisch.”Macartney, a first-time podium finisher, is the seventh American to record a top-three result this year. He joins a list that includes reigning overall champion Bode Miller, Rahlves, Ted Ligety, Julia Mancuso, Lindsey Kildow and Caroline Lalive.Miller, the reigning overall champion, skipped the German races to rest ahead of the Turin Olympics.”It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Macartney said. “I went down first and hung onto the lead for a while. It seemed my run was better and better as everyone came down. The course when I went was very smooth and grippy and I could go wherever I wanted to. At the bottom, other people were losing a lot of time.”
Macartney is qualified for the super-G at the Turin Olympics with Miller, Rahlves and Steve Nyman. He plans to race the combined with Miller, Nyman and Ligety.Macartney, Nyman and Marco Sullivan are vying for the two remaining downhill spots. Rahlves and Miller have secured their spotsGruber is pleased he didn’t get injured in Saturday’s crash.”I had a great run today, but I was very fortunate not to have injured myself yesterday when I lost the ski,” said Gruber, who lost it midway through Saturday’s race. “I tried everything not to fall heavily.”All three of Gruber’s super-G wins have come at this classic resort, including last year and in 2001. He also won a giant slalom in Bormio in the 2000-01 season.Aamodt set a record for World Cup starts, entering his 438th race. The new father overtook Marc Giradelli of Luxembourg, who had 437.”My baby girl was just born one week ago. I’m going to the airport now to go home and maybe find out her name,” Aamodt said.Maier’s finish lifted him to the top of the super-G standings with 232 points. Aksel Lund Svindal, who finished 20th, fell to second with 224 points. Hannes Reichelt of Austria is third at 221.
Austrian Benjamin Raich, who was 18th, still leads the overall standings with 965 points. Michael Walchhofer is second with 770, followed by Maier (735) and Rahlves (727).Miller is fifth with 688 points.Maier, entering his 200th career World Cup race, received a pair of self-autographed and limited edition “Hermann Maier 200” skis.Hosp wins, Mancuso finishers in fifthCORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy – Nicole Hosp is becoming a multi-medal threat for the Turin Olympics.The Austrian skied a flawless second run to win a World Cup giant slalom Sunday. Her first victory of the season came at the perfect time – 12 days before the Winter Games begin.It was the fourth win of the 22-year-old’s career and her first since she broke her ankle two years ago. Hosp also has top-four finishes in slalom, super giant slalom and combined this season.
“Last season was very difficult with a lot of injuries,” Hosp said. “This season started very good but my skiing was not at 100 percent until now.”Hosp was fourth after the opening run. Her two-run time was 2 minutes, 33.51 seconds. Genevieve Simard of Canada was second, .31 seconds behind, and Elisabeth Goergl of Austria was third to match her result from Saturday’s downhill.Julia Mancuso of the United States concluded an impressive weekend with a fifth-place finish. She was second in Friday’s super-G and Saturday’s downhill.Mancuso won a bronze medal in GS at last year’s world championships. This was her best result in the discipline this season.”I haven’t had the best results in GS so I was just trying to do my best,” she said. “I didn’t push it too much because I think a semi-decent finish is important for me. We have two more GS races next weekend, but this will just give me a little more confidence.”Mancuso’s teammate, Lindsey Kildow, fell on the first run.Defending overall World Cup champion Anja Paerson finished sixth and remained atop the GS standings. Paerson sat out Saturday’s downhill, deciding the course was too dangerous.”For me it was not enough good conditions,” she said. “It was the first time I turned in my bib in my career.”Janica Kostelic came in seventh and kept her lead in the overall standings.