Goergl fastest in slow-moving St. Moritz DH training
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland – After a wind delay that lasted an hour and a half in St. Moritz on Wednesday, the women’s World Cup launched into its first downhill training. The wind and some fresh snow from Tuesday made for slow conditions, yet Elisabeth Goergl laid down the fastest time.
The Austrian finished the full-length course in one minute, 48.27 seconds. Italy’s Elena Fanchini was next in line, 0.39 behind Goergl and Julia Mancuso was third fastest, 0.57 back.
Goergl has raced in St. Moritz since 2004 but has had most of her success in super G, taking the podium (second place) once in 2008. Adverse weather led to the cancelation of the speed events in St. Moritz last season and in 2010, Anja Paerson won the super-combined with Michaela Kirchgasser (Sunday’s slalom winner in Kranjska Gora) taking second, Lindsey Vonn third and Goergl fourth.
On Wednesday, Paerson said she thinks this year’s downhill course layout is “too slow” and that “you could almost tuck the whole thing.”
Maria Riesch handily won the downhill in 2010, followed by now-retired Ingrid Jacquemod and Fabienne Suter.
The wind wasn’t terribly strong on Wednesday, but there was a significant cross wind in the morning interfering with the final jump on the course. By the time the training began at noon, visibility was not an issue at all as the clouds cleared and the sun cast a bright light upon the entire slope. Racers said they felt they barely went airborne on the jump because there was more turniness to the top of the course on the flat section and the soft snow slowed things down.
Goergl said she thought other racers were experimenting with their lines in training but that she took a more direct approach.
“It was nice but slow,” said France’s Marion Rolland, who was sixth in training, 1.08 off the lead time. “I think it’s turnier on top than it has been before and the snow is just not very icy. It’s soft.”
Multiple World Cup downhill and super-combined champion Lindsey Vonn was trying out next year’s new regulation skis in Wednesday’s downhill training. She said the skis were running especially slow on the soft course and she ended up 28th. Vonn was sporting a Go-Pro helmet camera in the training, the footage from which she plans to post on Facebook.
Thursday’s weather calls for sunshine and clear skies. The second downhill training is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. local time and racing begins Friday with the super-combined, rescheduled from the canceled race in Val d’Isere. The downhill is set for Saturday and another super-combined Sunday.
By Shauna Farnell