Schifferer steals show

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The Independent Online

Austrian Andreas Schifferer stole the show at a World Cup downhill in Val Gardena, Italy today, relegating Friday's champion, Kristian Ghedina, to second place and the "Herminator" to third.

Austrian Andreas Schifferer stole the show at a World Cup downhill in Val Gardena, Italy today, relegating Friday's champion, Kristian Ghedina, to second place and the "Herminator" to third.

It was Schifferer's eighth career win; his first this season. The speed-specialist has collected all but one of his victories in downhill.

"It feels great to be ahead of (Hermann) Maier," Schifferer said after clocking a time of two minutes, 4.78 seconds.

In Friday's race down the same fast and bumpy Saslong course, Ghedina dusted his rivals by a whopping 1.35 seconds to earn his 11th career win. Schifferer, 25, finished 12th on Friday.

"Yesterday I had a great race," Ghedina said after posting a time of 2:04.89. "Today I gave it my best but it didn't go as well."

Maier, dubbed the "Herminator" for his bulging muscles and aggressive style, suffered another bitter defeat after Friday's sixth place. He finished in 2:05.00.

"Next year I will win," Maier pledged. "Now I know the track better so I can go faster next time."

The double Olympic and world champion, had never finished worse than second this season prior to Friday.

With five victories and one second place so far, he leads the World Cup overall, downhill and super-G standings. He is determined to reclaim the overall crown from Norway's Lasse Kjuss.

The Norwegian has the flu and did not compete in the downhills.

Schifferer was third in a giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colorado earlier this year. At the 1997 Worlds he claimed the bronze medal in giant slalom.

Compared to Friday's sunny day, Saturday was overcast and the visibility was poor. Several athletes, including Ghedina, said the flat light made it difficult to ski aggressively.

Maier and Schifferer said the track was "very dangerous."

The fastest time Saturday was two seconds slower than Friday's, a sign skiers were more cautious because they couldn't see the contours of the piste.

Top North American was Canada's Ed Podivinsky in 10th. Podivinsky, winner of a single World Cup, was third on Friday.

Results

1. Andreas Schifferer, Austria, two minutes, 4.78 seconds.2. Kristian Ghedina, Italy, 2:04.89.3. Hermann Maier, Austria, 2:05.00.4. Josef Strobl, Austria, 2:05.02.5. Kjetil Andre Aamodt, Norway, 2:05.40.6. Fritz Strobl, Austria, 2:05.71.7. Claude Cretier, France, 2:05.76.8. Werner Franz, Austria, 2:05.77.9. Audun Groenvold, Norway, 2:05.91.10. Ed Podivinsky, Canada, 2:06.02.(tie) Kenneth Sivertsen, Norway, 2:06.02.12. Patrik Jaerbyn, Sweden, 2:06.13.13. Hans Knauss, Austria, 2:06.20.14. Luca Cattaneo, Italy, 2:06.27.15. Bruno Kernen, Switzerland, 2:06.29.16. Stephan Eberharter, Austria, 2:06.40.17. Alessandro Fattori, Italy, 2:06.46.18. Erik Seletto, Italy, 2:06.54.19. Juerg Gruenenfelder, Switzerland, 2:06.67.20. Hannes Trinkl, Austria, 2:06.86.

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