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Christof Innerhofer fastest in downhill training

 Canada's Manuel Osborne-Paradis prepares during training for an Alpine Skiing men's World Cup downhill race at Val Gardena, Italy, Thursday, Dec. 16,...
 Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal, left,  jokes with Bode Miller, of the United States, as they prepare training for an Alpine Skiing men's World Cup downh...
 Bode Miller, of the United States, prepares during training for an Alpine Skiing men's World Cup downhill race at Val Gardena, Italy, Thursday, Dec. ...

Italy Alpine Skiing World Cup

Canada's Manuel Osborne-Paradis prepares during training for an Alpine Skiing men's World Cup downhill race at Val Gardena, Italy, Thursday, Dec. 16,...

Italy Alpine Skiing World Cup

Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal, left, jokes with Bode Miller, of the United States, as they prepare training for an Alpine Skiing men's World Cup downh...

Italy Alpine Skiing World Cup

Bode Miller, of the United States, prepares during training for an Alpine Skiing men's World Cup downhill race at Val Gardena, Italy, Thursday, Dec. ...

Christof Innerhofer of Italy was fastest Thursday in the final practice run on the Saslong course ahead of Saturday's World Cup downhill race.
Innerhofer finished in 1 minute, 57.76 seconds, more than three seconds faster than last year's winning time by Manuel Osborne-Paradis of Canada.
"It's fast," said Osborne-Paradis, who was 17th. "It's nice to scare yourself just on race day, but I scared myself the whole way down today, too."
Michael Walchhofer of Austria, who won back-to-back downhills in Val Gardena in 2007 and '08, was 0.06 behind in second. German rookie Andreas Sander was the surprise third-fastest finisher, 0.27 back. He wore bib No. 64 on a day when veterans dominated the leader board.
Bode Miller of the United States was fourth, trailing Innerhofer by 0.30, and Didier Cuche of Switzerland was 0.48 back in sixth, after being quickest in Wednesday's training session.
Cuche, now 36, and the 35-year-old Walchhofer have combined to win the World Cup downhill title for the past six seasons, getting three wins apiece.
Walchhofer leads the current standings after taking victory in the only race so far, in Lake Louise, Canada.
"If it's a little bit warm on Saturday it could be even faster," Walchhofer said. "It's really in perfect condition with a lot of good bumps in the course."
The 3.5-kilometer (2.1-mile) Saslong's signature features are a series of jumps at midway, known as the camel bumps, and a last leap into the finish where racers pass over a tunnel created for a road that opened last year.
"We're getting to the limit of what kind of speed we can throw off some of these jumps," Osborne-Paradis said. "If it speeds a little bit more, it's going to be a ride. But it's safe."
Innerhofer, who was clocked 110.8 kph (69 mph), is seeking his second World Cup victory after winning the downhill on home snow in Bormio in December 2008.
That race also marked the last time the 21-year-old Sander was officially entered for a World Cup event, though he did not make his scheduled start.
Sander has only one career start in the top ranks, a super-G at Bormio's World Cup finals week in 2008 that he earned for becoming junior world champion. His reward for an excellent practice run should be one of Germany's two allocated berths in the super-G, which opens the Val Gardena race program on Friday.


Updated : 2021-10-21 17:38 GMT+08:00