Rahlves places fifth in downhill
ST. ANTON, Austria – A small mid-race miscue cost Daron Rahlves of Truckee another trip to the World Championships podium Wednesday as he finished fifth in the men’s downhill while Austrians Hannes Trinkl and Hermann Maier went 1-2.
“I thought I still had the podium,” Rahlves said as he watched the back of the field come down before some 35,000 fans. “I was psyched about the way I skied today but unfortunately it wasn’t enough … but one little mistake in the middle and that was it.”
The men’s downhill is king in Austria, and Trinkl came down in 1:38.74, eclipsing his renowned teammate by two-tenths of a second.
In a race where an early start number was most helpful – six of the top seven spots were single-digit starters (Trinkl raced sixth, Maier third and Rahlves ninth) – the bronze medal went to Flori Eckert of Germany, No. 25 and a World Cup rookie who was marking his 22nd birthday; his time was 1:39.26.
Rahlves was fifth with a 1:39.64 clocking and Chad Fleischer (Vail, Colo.) finished 11th in 1:40.75. Jake Fiala (Breckenridge, Colo.) crashed as he turned into the final face of the course.
The Truckee resident, who delighted most of the alpine ski racing world last week when he won the super-G gold medal, led through the early intervals before he apparently lost a fraction of a second in setting up a turn in the mid-section of the 2.5-km Karl Schranz race course.
“Whenever your skis jump around and you don’t keep ’em clean, you’re definitely losing time and it’s one tough thing on this hill, there are so many bumps. I was railing the top – it felt so good at the beginning, things were going and then you put a little too much pressure in one area, like the apex of a turn and it’s bumpy, like I did, and you lose it.”
“I made a mistake but I was really happy with the way I skied, pretty much, like top to bottom. There’s never going to be a perfect run. It’s just a matter of fighting and keeping going at it,” the 2001 world super-G champion told reporters.
The men’s downhill originally was to have been run Saturday but when weekend storms left about two feet of wet snow on the mountain, organizers were forced to shuffle the schedule. The race was rescheduled for Tuesday and then re-rescheduled for mid-week.
The next men’s race at the championships is Thursday when they will compete in giant slalom.
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