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Alpine skiing: Goergl wins Altenmarkt downhill

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Austria's Elisabeth Goergl won the women's downhill on home snow in Altenmarkt on Saturday, nabbing her first World Cup win in two years and only her second in the discipline.

The 2011 double world champion finished with 1min 47.45sec, a whopping 0.56sec ahead of fellow Austrian Anna Fenninger and 0.63sec ahead of Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch.

Goergl had already signalled she was on her way back last month, narrowly missing the podium in Lake Louise and St. Moritz to finish fourth.

"It totally worked out!" the 32-year-old rejoiced after her win Saturday.

"I was nervous and it's nice when everything works out without mistakes. It doesn't happen to me that often."

"But I felt good today. I was determined and attacked. It was really nice to race, it's a really nice course."

The Austrian won downhill gold at world championships in Garmisch in 2011, but had only one World Cup win in the discipline before Saturday.

Her victory ends a dry spell for the Austrian speed ladies, who have been without a downhill win since January 2012 -- precisely since Goergl last won.

"I had a lot of catching up to do, I was really not happy with my last season, I was so far behind, so it was important to keep working," said the double bronze medallist from Vancouver.

"I feel good again, that wasn't the case last year so that's the most important thing for me," she said.

Fenninger, 24, long looked like she might have nabbed her first ever downhill win in Altenmarkt.

The Austrian already clocked the fastest time in training on Thursday.

But her second place is still her best result in the discipline, after three third-place finishes, one of them in Altenmarkt in 2011.

The former combined world champion now takes the lead in the overall World Cup standings, overtaking Hoefl-Riesch with 677 points.

"I took a lot of risks," Fenninger reacted after her performance.

"I was a bit nervous in the start so I'm really glad it worked out."

Just before she started, Italy's Elena Fanchini had crashed after a jump, forcing a short pause. The 28-year-old however walked away without any apparent injuries.

Hoefl-Riesch, one of the favourites to win on Saturday conceded defeat, noting: "It wasn't a totally perfect run. Anna showed she could dominate and Liz was great."

"That I can be up there with them is super."

"I was never on the podium in Altenmarkt, it was never one of my favourite slopes."

"(But) today I really had fun... Thank goodness I still managed to turn on the turbo in the bottom part and it was enough. I'm very happy."

The skiers had to handle a tricky course that snaked between the trees on the 3,005-metre (9,859 foot) Kaelberloch slope.

Another impressive feature is the start, which sees skiers launching down a steep incline and hitting speeds of 120 kilometres per hour (75 miles per hours) just seconds out of the gates.

Casualties on Saturday included Austria's Cornelia Huetter who crashed after a jump, while Swiss skier Fraenzi Aufdenblatten failed to finish after missing a gate. Neither appeared injured.

The women will now race in the super-combined on Sunday -- one of only two such events this World Cup season and the only one before the Olympics in Sochi next month.

The results are tallied from one super-G and one slalom run, with the first start at 9:30am (0830GMT).

ssw/lp

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140111/alpine-skiing-goergl-wins-altenmarkt-downhill-1