Skiing: Mahrer tames the Kandahar

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The Independent Online
DANIEL MAHRER, at 31 one of the old men of the mountains, emerged victorious at the end of one of the fiercest downhills on a treacherous Kandahar course at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany yesterday.

He beat the Austrian, Peter Rzehak, who sprang a suprise from the low start number of 28, and Sunday's winner, Franz Heinzer for Switzerland's third victory in the four races of the season so far.

Yesterday's race was just as difficult than Sunday's, in which two racers ended in hospital. The visibility was better, but the piste was icier, bumpier, faster and barer, but only Jean-Luc Cretier, of France, found real trouble, losing control on a jump near the end and finishing flat on his back before crashing into safety barriers. He escaped with severe bruising.

Mahrer, who has won eight times on the World Cup circuit, barely put a foot wrong as he covered the 3.5-kilometre course, which has a vertical drop of 960 metres, in 1min 53.26sec - a great improvement on his 25th place the previous day. 'These sort of downhills suit me because I like to ski fast and I was able to race aggressively,' he said.

Marc Girardelli, who is the overall World Cup leader but has not won a downhill since 1989, put together another excellent race, and finished fifth for the second day running, further boosting his confidence ahead of next month's World Championships. 'I did not ski as aggressively today because I felt a bit tired but I had a clean run,' he said. 'I was looking for a top three place and I know I have the ability to win a downhill again.'

Emma Carrick-Anderson, the 17- year-old Scottish skier, had her best result when she won the slalom in the International Dutch championships in Flachau, Austria, yesterday. Carrick-Anderson, whose 19th place in last year's Olympic slalom and 17th in the combined were the best by a British Alpine skier at the Games, finished fourth in a Europa Cup race in Italy last week.