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Goetschl leads downhill training, then criticizes Olympic course again

Goetschl leads downhill training, then criticizes Olympic course again

Renate Goetschl led a women's World Cup downhill training session Thursday, then again criticized the course used for last year's Turin Olympics as too easy.
Two years ago in an Olympic test event, skiers complained that the course was like a highway _ too wide open and without enough terrain to make it challenging. Organizers made landscape changes to the course before the Olympics but Goetschl said it was still a highway.
"It is. It was also last year. You cannot change a hill," she said. "It's more how you are in the position and it's not so much about skiing. I like the difficult downhills more."
The jumps are smaller again this year.
"It's easier than the Olympics," Goetschl said. "It's also new snow, so it couldn't be too fast. You have a lot of grip."
Goetschl covered the 3-kilometer (1.9-mile) Fraiteve Olympique course _ the longest on the women's circuit _ in 1 minute, 56.18 seconds.
Austrian teammate Ingrid Rumpfhuber was second, 0.64 seconds behind, and Martina Schild of Switzerland was third, 0.91 back.
Schild won the silver medal in the downhill at the Turin Games.
Michaela Dorfmeister, who won both the downhill and super-G at the Olympics, retired after last season.
Goetschl won the last two downhills in Altenmarkt, Austria, and Cortina and leads the discipline standings.
Thursday's session was the only training after Wednesday's session was canceled due to a storm that dumped about 30 centimeters (1 foot) of snow on the course. It was also snowing Thursday, causing a 30-minute delay and making visibility difficult on the upper part of the course.
The conditions favored earlier starters such as Rumpfhuber, who was the fifth skier out of the starting gate.
Rumpfhuber has never finished higher than sixth in a World Cup race.
"I don't know if it means a lot. It's tough to say," Goetschl said of the training session.
Overall World Cup leader Marlies Schild was fifth and Julia Mancuso, who is third overall, was ninth.
Wearing bandages on her face from a fall at Cortina last weekend, Nicole Hosp finished 42nd, more than five seconds behind.
Schild leads the standings with 881 points, followed by Hosp with 828 and Mancuso with 794.
In the downhill standings, Goetschl leads with 425 points, followed by Mancuso with 346 and Lindsey Kildow with 340. Kildow was 17th Thursday.
This is the final downhill before the World Championships begin in Are, Sweden, next week.
A super-G race is scheduled for Friday, followed by the downhill Saturday and another super-G on Sunday.
Two-time overall champion Anja Paerson is skipping the entire weekend. She went home to Sweden to prepare for the worlds.