Fischbacher and Schild fastest in 1st downhill training in Haus

05 January 2010 23:00

Austrian Andrea Fischbacher and Switzerland's Martina Schild tied for the fastest time in the first downhill training at the Austrian Haus im Ennstal on Wednesday. They both passed the finish line after 1 minute, 40.72 seconds.

For the 28-year-old Swiss the good training result in downhill comes rather unexpected as she did not finish within the top ten ever since her eighth place in Crans-Montana back in March 2008.

Although her sixth place finish in the super G in Val d' Isère before Christmas 2009 may have portended that Schild is at her best again. Her first and only second place podium finish dates back to the 2006 Olympic Games downhill race in Turin.

Fischbacher's last downhill victory was in February 2009. The 24-year-old lives in the province of Salzburg only about 30 kilometres west of the Styrian Haus im Ennstal, which has not hosted any World Cup Alpine ski races for the past six years.

The race hill is said to be in good condition although not quite as fast and icy as some days ago before the snow fall. Opening with a series of jumps, the course then flattens out before it becomes more technical again on the last homestretch before the finish line.

‘Fischi's teammate Elisabeth Goergl, placed third, followed by American Lindsey Vonn and German Maria Riesch.

Vonn who prefers the speed races to the technical events has been overtaken in the overall standings by her main rival and friend, Maria Riesch. The German racer now has 599 points, with Vonn five behind.

There are two downhill races scheduled, which will take place Friday and Saturday -- the first a replacement for the race canceled in Val d'Isère, France, last month -- and a super-G Sunday.