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Walchhofer adds another win to farewell season

Walchhofer adds another win to farewell season

Austria's Michael Walchhofer added another victory to his farewell season Wednesday, becoming the first skier to win the grueling World Cup downhill on the Stelvio course three times.
Walchhofer, who has already announced he will retire at the end of this season, clocked 1 minute, 59.66 on the circuit's most physically demanding layout for his third victory this season and the 18th of his career.
Silvan Zurbriggen of Switzerland was the only other skier to break 2 minutes, finishing a mere 0.08 seconds behind in second place. Christof Innerhofer of Italy was third, 0.36 back, in perfectly sunny and cold conditions, with the temperature hovering just below the freezing level.
While most skiers bent over in exhaustion upon crossing the finish, the 35-year-old Walchhofer had enough energy left to for a celebration that included a few quick slalom turns before he came to a stop.
Walchhofer's two other downhill wins in Bormio came on consecutive days in 2006.
Retired Austrian great Hermann Maier won four races overall on the Stelvio, but only two downhills. Bode Miller has three victories here, but also only two in downhill.
Miller finished eighth this time, matching his best result this season. The American was on pace for a podium spot midway down but went slightly off line in the lower section, when racers' legs are burning from the Stelvio's constant turns and bumps, most of which are covered with shade.
Zurbriggen, who won his first career downhill in Val Gardena earlier this month, took the lead in the overall standings from American Ted Ligety, who skipped this race.
Zurbriggen now leads with 395 points, one in front of Walchhofer and 74 ahead of Ligety.
Having won two of the three races thus far, Walchhofer holds a 15-point lead over Zurbriggen in the downhill standings.
Two other Austrians who skied immediately after Walchhofer didn't finish.
Klaus Kroell was on pace for the podium before he fell and slid down head first for several hundred meters (yards), bloodying his face but apparently suffering no other injuries.
Mario Scheiber was faster than Walchhofer through the middle split, then missed a gate.
Robbie Dixon of Canada also fell and reported bruises, but no serious injuries.
Most of the men have a break now for New Year's, while the top 15 in the overall standings will compete in a special parallel slalom city event in Munich on Jan. 2.


Updated : 2021-06-21 02:03 GMT+08:00