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Goetschl Wins Downhill Ski

January 18, 1998

ZAUCHENSEE, Austria (AP) _ Renate Goetschl gave Austrian women their first World Cup skiing victory in more than a year and Martina Ertl of Germany earned her second win of the season Sunday.

Goetschl won the morning’s downhill, then Ertl took the super-giant slalom three hours later.

Two races were held in one day because the downhill, originally scheduled for Saturday, was postponed because of fierce winds and dense fog. The conditions were perfect Sunday and both races took place under a clear sky.

Ertl, a giant slalom specialist, made up for her disappointing 19th place in the downhill, skiing a perfect run. She trailed several competitors midway through the course but had a superb finish.

``I’m glad I made it,″ Ertl said. ``Super-G is not my most beloved discipline, though.″

Ertl clocked 1 minute, 25.90 seconds.

Heidi Zurbriggen of Switzerland finished second, .06 seconds back, with Melanie Suchet of France, a late starter at No. 40, third at 1:26.26.

Goetschl wound up fourth at 1:26.32, with Katja Seizinger of Germany fifth, .13 seconds behind the Austrian.

Seizinger also was second in the downhill and extended her overall World Cup lead.

Zurbriggen, who had won the previous super-G held at Zauchensee in 1994, almost repeated her victory Sunday but made a criticial mistake in the bottom portion of the course.

``My shape is much better now than at the beginning of the season,″ Zurbriggen said. ``Let’s hope it’ll culminate in Nagano.″

Goetschl held the lead from the start through about three quarters of the course but slipped and almost fell several gates before the finish, which cost her a rare double.

``I made a huge mistake,″ she said.

Earlier, Goetschl captured the first World Cup victory for Austrian women after 26 races, ending Seizinger’s six-race winning streak in speed events.

Goetschl finished at 1:30.10, beating runner-up Seizinger by .63 seconds.

Goetschl’s teammate, Alexandra Meissnitzer, finished third at 1:31.23, edging France’s Florence Masnada by .07 seconds.

The last Austrian woman to win a World Cup race was Goetschl, a downhill on Dec. 7, 1996, at Vail, Colo.

Goetschl, whose best previous result this season was second in a December super-G race at Val d’Isere, France, held a comfortable lead from start to finish.

Seizinger had won three downhills and three super-G races in a row, before being beaten Sunday. She encountered a few problems near the bottom of the run, with her left ski skidding at one point.

``Renate was simply better today ...″ Seizinger said. ``I have to say the Austrians were really strong.″

Meissnitzer, who excelled in Friday’s practice runs and was expected to be Seizinger’s most serious rival, slipped and momentarily lost her balance in one of the curves.

The best American finisher, Picabo Street, was 10th in the downhill, trailing Goetschl by 1.77 seconds.

Seizinger extended her lead in the overall World Cup standings, with 1,204 points. Germany’s Hilde Gerg is second with 920, followed by Ertl with 851.

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