Skiing: No strife comes to the Streif

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Norway's Atle Skaardal recorded the fastest time in an accident-free World Cup downhill training run on the demanding Streif piste in Kitzbuhel, Austria, yesterday.

The 3,200 metres long course with a vertical drop of 860 metres, considered one of the most difficult on the Alpine ski circuit, surprisingly claimed no victims on a sunny and mild day.

Last year, Norway's overall World Cup champion Lasse Kjus and the Austrians Andreas Schifferer and Josef Strobl all had to be airlifted to hospital with concussion after crashing heavily during training.

It was a different story yesterday, when the racers were pleased with conditions on the Hahnenkamm mountain, which will host a two-run sprint downhill tomorrow and a regular full-length downhill on Saturday.

The weather was not as kind to the women downhill skiers as fog forced the cancellation of their two training runs in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, yesterday. The organisers postponed the World Cup race until tomorrow, with the training runs today.