Goergl fast again on the Kandahar, leads Garmisch training
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany – Subzero temperatures and the extra accessories that come with it (face tape, face masks, etc) once again characterized the ladies downhill training in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Friday, when double World Champion Elisabeth Goergl put down the fastest training time, reminding the Kandahar slope what she is capable of on it.
Winning both the downhill and super G gold medals last year on the same slope, the Austrian crossed the finish line in 1 minute, 47.01 seconds in training on Friday, 0.24 seconds ahead of Thursday’s training leader Marie Marchand-Arvier and American Stacey Cook, who finished in a dead tie.
“Of course I have great memories of this place. I just feel comfortable here,” said Goergl, who also sang the official 2011 world championships GAP theme song. “I like it here and the good memories help. I just want to push.”
Goergl said the slope was in similar condition to Thursday (see training No. 1 story here) – hard and bumpy in spite of a few more fresh centimeters of snow. She said although she went hard in Friday’s training she still had a little extra gas reserved for race day on Saturday.
“The people on the slope worked hard and did a good job. It’s really bumpy and hard – rough skiing,” she said. “I was skiing like I pushed it … but I have some turns that I can push more.”
Cook on the other hand said she was going 100 percent in training.
“I was going after it, pretty much. I like to have confidence of knowing exactly what I’m getting into on race day. I know a lot of people hold back in training. I have a little different tactic,” Cook said. “I still made a lot of mistakes. It was bumpy in there for a while. It was hard to actually see sometimes … but I think I made all the gates. There’s a fog layer right at the start, too. You get the moisture on your face, then the fog clears, then it gets freezing cold and the moisture freezes to your face. It’s really special.”
Anna Fenninger suffered the affects of this phenomenon more than anyone in training as she was putting down a very fast run on the top of the course, then, wearing a face mask, the moisture collected in her goggles and froze, so she pulled off the course, unable to see.
The field was rather spread out following the top three athletes on Friday, with Italian Daniela Merighetti, who recently won her first World Cup race in the Cortina d’Ampezzo downhill, third fastest, 0.49 seconds back. Then came Lichtenstein’s Tina Weirather, 0.56 seconds back, then Garmisch home girl Maria Hoefl-Riesch in sixth place, 0.68 seconds back, and then Anja Paerson in seventh, 1.05 seconds back.
Young Norwegian Lotte Smiseth Sejersted said she likes the course and knows where she can clean up some turns for race day. She was eighth in training, 1.07 seconds back, followed by Switzerland’s Nadja Kamer in ninth, 1.16 seconds back and France’s Aurelie Revillet in 10th, 1.29 seconds back.
Current World Cup downhill and overall leader Lindsey Vonn was experimenting with some new wax on Friday, which she said didn’t work out very well, as she ended up 18th, 1.65 seconds off the lead time.
“That’s what training runs are good for … trying out new stuff. Otherwise I felt good about my line and good about my skiing,” Vonn said. “The course is in great shape – light years better than it was last year.”
The sun that was attempting to peek out for Friday’s training is forecasted to disappear in place of more clouds for Saturday, when freezing temperatures (-13 to -18 C) are supposed to continue for the downhill race, which kicks off at 10:30 local time.
By Shauna Farnell