Pair of top-20 performances for Mendes |

Pair of top-20 performances for Mendes

Tahoe Daily Tribune Staff Reports

USSA and Tribune reports

LAKE LOUISE, Alberta – In a race delayed about two hours by gusting winds and snow, Olympic downhill gold medalist Carole Montillet of France made it two World Cup downhill victories in 24 hours Saturday at Lake Louise. She edged Austrian Michaela Dorfmeister by .12 while Jonna Mendes (Heavenly, CA) led three U.S. women into the top 15 and two more into the top 30 – five U.S. women in the points for the second day in a row, too.

Winds gusted to more than 75 mph, although the temperature was in the low 20s at race time. An overnight storm left a small amount of snow which was scrsaped off but shortly before race time, another storm rolled in, depositing about eight inches of snow in less than an hour and organizers called a delay to re-clear the course.

Montillet won the sixth race of her career – three downhills, three super Gs – in 1:24.18 with Dorfmeister down in 1:24.30 and Renate Goetschl, another Austrian, third in 1:24.41.

Mendes, who considers Lake Louise one of her favorite race hills after scoring her first World Cup points and first career top-30, top-20 and top-10 on the Canadian Rockies run, posted a time of 1:25.39 to finish 12th.

The Heavenly Foundation product also was 16th in Friday’s downhill and 36th in Sunday’s super-G.

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Kirsten Clark (Raymond, Maine), who was third Friday in the opening DH of the season, was 14th (1:25.45) and Lindsey Kildow (Burnsville, Minn.) recorded her first top-15 in 1:25.48 in 15th place.

In addition, Bryna McCarty (Concord, Vt.) tied for 26th and Alison Powers (Winter Park, Colo.), continuing her comeback from a horrific left kneecap-shattering crash during the 2001 season, was 29th. McCarty scored her first World Cup points a year ago at Louise, finishing 25th in a DH; she repeated Friday in 26th place and rolled another 26th Saturday.

“Yeah, some wind was involved,” said U.S. speed Head Coach Alex Hoedelmoser. “We got it in although it was a late-afternoon dash.

“It wasn’t as successful as we hoped but the young ones were charging and they had some good races. Top-15 for Lindsey, another points race for Bryna…all good things. Some girls had headwind, some had tailwind; it was all over.”

He conditions varied dramatically with the gusting winds creating a problem along with poor visibility. “And then just before we were to begin, we got 20cm of snow in about half an hour or so, and that meant another delay,” Hoedelmoser said. “It took quite a while for them to get the snow off – they brought the machines in and everyone was slipping – and I have to say when we finally raced, there wasn’t too much soft stuff.”

In Sunday’s super-G, Renate Goetschl of Austria won the final women’s World Cup race of the season in North America, capturing first by a half-second over teammate and reigning super-G world champion Michaela Dorfmeister.

Clark, who started the weekend with a podium in downhill, finished just out of the top three – in fourth place, leading three Americans into the top 20.

Julia Mancuso of Olympic Valley was 20th.

Goetschl won in an unofficial 1:14.98 – her fourth victory at Lake Louise (two DH, two DG) – with Dorfmeister second at 1:15.49. Germany’s Hilde Gerg was third and Clark’s time was 1:15.85. Caroline Lalive, formerly of Truckee., continuing her succcessful rebound from torn knee ligaments last March 1 in a World Cup downhill crash in Austria, was 15th.

On Friday, two-time Olympian Clark, troubled by apparent equipment problems in training, found the right solution Friday and tore through the first women’s downhill of the World Cup season to finish third. Montillet won while four other Americans joined Clark in the top 30.

Racing with temperatures in the mid-teens, Montillet won with a time of 1:34.03. Germany’s Hilde Gerg took second (1:34.19) with Clark next at 1:34.33.

Lalive, in her first DH since crashing and tearing knee ligaments and suffering multiple injuries last March 1 outside Innsbruck, Austria, took 10th with a 1:34.96 clocking. She was followed by Mendesin 16th, Bryna McCarty 26th and Lindsey Kildow 27th.

“It was a great start for the downhill season,” Clark said. “It was a tough week in training, for sure, and the runs started pretty bad, but I knew Fischer (skis) and Ales (Sopotnik, her waxing technician) would figure it out and they did, getting the right grind and all…and the track got harder and harder, which made it faster, and that was good.”

U.S. coach Patrick Riml was obviously pleased.

“It was a really good start, I’d say Ð great for Clarky, of course, a podium is great and shouldgive her even more confidence…but for most of the other girls, too,” said Riml said. “Great for Caroline, her first downhill after her crash and Jonna picked it up from training, too.”