Rahlves scores seventh podium of season | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Rahlves scores seventh podium of season

AP and USSA reports

Daron Rahlves of the United States, speeds down the course during the World Cup downhill mens race in Kvitfjell, Norway, Wednesday, March 12, 2003. Rahlves was placed third. (AP Photo/Marco Trovati)

KVITFJELL, Norway — France’s Antoine Deneriaz won a World Cup downhill for the second time this season, beating overall leader Stephan Eberharter and Dahron Rahlves on Wednesday.

Austria’s Michaela Dorfmeister clinched the women’s downhill title by finishing sixth in a race won by compatriot Renate Goetschl. Kirsten Clark of the United States was third.

Jonna Mendes of South Lake Tahoe was 22nd.

Strong wind forced organizers to shorten the Olympiabakken course by nearly 1,300 feet. Deneriaz finished in 1 minute, 28.37 seconds — 0.17 seconds ahead of Eberharter.

Rahlves won consecutive downhills in Kvitfjell three years ago for his first World Cup victories, but this time the American finished 0.21 seconds back.

“I really live for race day. You get all charged up,” he said. “I can definitely beat (Eberharter). “

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It was Rahlves seventh podium finish of the seasopn.

“Coming into this season,” Rahlves said, “my goal was to be more consistent. I’ve had some speed in the past and been on the podium, but for me that was my biggest goal — to be consistent on the World Cup in downhill and superG.”

Compatriot Bode Miller was 25th out of 27 finishers and earned no points.

Goetschl won on Lillehammer’s Olympic hill in 1:35.32, missing the downhill title by four points. Dorfmeister also defeated Goetschl for the overall title last year.

“In the finishing area, I didn’t know I had won the downhill title before I was told,” Dorfmeister said. “It was a big goal of mine … an important victory.”

Dorfmeister had 372 downhill points, with Goetschl at 368 and Clark third at 316.

“This season has been great for me,” said Clark, who scored points in every race. “I’ve been consistent.”

France’s Ingrid Jacquemod, who had the fastest runs in training, finished second, 0.32 seconds behind Goetschl.

In the men’s race, Deneriaz thinks he was aided by the shortened course.

“I didn’t ski well on the top of the hill in training,” he said. “I couldn’t have dreamed of a better result.”

Deneriaz, who had the fastest training run Tuesday, won a World Cup downhill at Val Gardena, Italy, in December. He finished eighth at the world championships last month and 35th in the last World Cup race at Garmisch, Germany.

France’s Nicolas Burtin was fourth, 0.37 back, followed by Norway’s Kjetil-Andre Aamodt, who was 0.78 behind the winner.

Eberharter, who had clinched the downhill title, increased his lead over Miller in the overall standings to 173 points.

“I tried to go as fast as I could,” Miller said. “That’s what I’ve been doing all season. But it’s a pretty difficult course for me.”

Eberharter topped the final downhill standings with 790 points, followed by Rahlves at 593.

Rahlves, however, is already looking ahead to next season.

“For me, to win the title next year, it’s going to take coming into every single race prepared, intense and ready to go,” he said. “When you have a guy like Stephan who wins six races, you can’t afford to not be on the podium in even one race.

“It’s more of a reality now to go into next season going for the title. I’m just looking forward to the first race. think this year one of my successes was just looking race to race, ski each race hard and fast. I showed myself what it takes to be on the podium seven times. I know I can build on this. For sure, my goal next year is to go at nothing less than the World Cup title in downhill.”

Three races remain — a super giant slalom today and a giant slalom and slalom this weekend.

Rahlves added, “It was good to come back here. I met two little kids on the hill [Tuesday], who said, ‘Hey, Daron Rahlves – the king of Kvitfjell.’ I had a good chance today but have to come back next year to regain the crown.”