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Zettel wins in an Austrian sweep

Daily Staff Report
AP photoJulia Mancuso celebrates her fourth-place finish in Thursday's World Cup giant slalom in Semmering, Austria.
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Mancuso takes fourth; Kildow doesn’t finishVail, CO ColoradoDaily Staff ReportSEMMERING, Austria – Kathrin Zettel, Nicole Hosp and Marlies Schild gave Austria a sweep of the top three spots Thursday in a World Cup giant slalom.Zettel, who also won the season-opening GS in Aspen, completed Austria’s eighth World Cup victory this season in a combined time of 2 minutes, 9.50 seconds.”I’m astonished. I really didn’t believe I could beat Marlies in the second run,” Zettel said. “I’m so happy to win a giant slalom in Austria.”Zettel doesn’t believe there is any secret to Austria’s dominance.”We just make a great team together,” she said. “Every one of us wants to be the best of the world, so we all got stimulated by teammates performing well.”

Hosp was second, 0.1 seconds behind, and reclaimed the lead in the overall World Cup standings from Schild, the first-run leader who finished 0.16 seconds behind.”What a tough battle it has been,” Hosp said. “We all have been training very hard lately and were well prepared for this race. There was hardly any difference between the three of us.”Hosp has 540 points in the overall World Cup standings, three ahead of Schild. Zettel was third with 460, followed by Renate Goetschl with 441. American Lindsey Kildow was fifth with 435 points.”That would be far too premature,” Hosp said of winning the overall title. “The season is still so long and there are so many competitive skiers around.”Schild lost time on the second run as she took risks in a bid to keep her lead.”It went wrong in the final part of my race,” Schild said. “I badly misjudged some curves and lost too much speed. Those mistakes came very costly.”Schild also led in the season-opening race in Aspen before dropping out.”These errors really annoy me, but what can you do?” Schild said. “I have to live with the idea that I could have done better.”

JulesAmerican Julia Mancuso finished fourth in 2:09.82 after clocking the fastest second run. Teammate Kildow didn’t finish the first run.”It was sweet. They just had to slow down a little for me,” Mancuso said. “It’s sweet to know, though, that I won the second run. I’m really excited. I just needed to clean up some things from my first run.”Mancuso was the first skier on course in the morning run and with the icy conditions, conceded she was a little nervous. “It’s pretty tough starting first in giant slalom, especially when it’s this icy. You don’t know what to expect and you don’t get a course report because no teammate has been down the run. “The first run I didn’t get my timing down. The second run, I focused more on being clean and smooth with my skiing.”Chris Knight, the U.S. women’s head coach was hapy with Mancuso’s performance.

“It was definitely not an advantage to run first today,” Knight said. “Two forerunners fell over, so Julia didn’t get much of an idea what was what … and she really did well to be where she was on that first run. But she had a mistake and a couple of small bobbles on the second run and yet she still was fastest, so she’s coming on hard. It was a really good day for her.The squadJessica Kelley was the only other American to finish, placing 30th.”Jess ran first on the second run; she skied it clean but didn’t attack like she did on the first run,” Knight said. “She had some really good sections. This is two (giant slalom) races and she’s been in the second run each time – that’s outstanding for her and should help her confidence.”Kildow was in about 15th place at her final timing split before skiing off course 10 gates from the finish.The women complete their annual visit to Semmering, Austria, west of Vienna, with a slalom today before heading to Zagreb, Croatia, for the Snow Queen Trophy slalom on the night of Jan. 4 and then the yearly World Cup giatn slalom and slalom weekend Jan. 6-7 in Maribor, Slovenia.


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