Alexa

Jerman holds good form to be fastest

Jerman holds good form to be fastest

Andrej Jerman of Slovenia held his good form on the Lauberhorn course Thursday to be fastest in World Cup downhill training.
He finished in 2 minutes, 32.17 seconds for the nearly 4.5-kilometer (2.8-mile) piste _ 0.02 seconds faster than the quickest time posted Wednesday by Didier Cuche of Switzerland when Jerman was next best.
"I think I surprised myself a little bit," said the 30-year-old Slovenian, whose best finish in four downhills this season is 10th at Beaver Creek, Colorado, six weeks ago. "The previous races I didn't do as good as I wanted to. It looks like my shape is coming and I'll try to repeat my run in Saturday's race."
Peter Fill of Italy, who won the season-opening race in Lake Louise, Alberta, was 0.23 back in second. Erik Guay of Canada was third, trailing by 0.50 on another afternoon of clear, bright sunshine on the classic Swiss hill.
"There can't be anything better than this," said Jerman, who was sixth on the Lauberhorn a year ago. "It's a perfect set-up for a perfect race."
Cuche, last season's World Cup downhill champion, had the fastest split times and looked set to challenge Jerman but was flagged down for safety reasons in the second half of his run. The previous racer, Klaus Kroell of Austria, had spilled and lost a ski.
The 34-year-old Cuche said he would ski the shortened downhill run Friday morning, the first leg of a super-combined event, to prepare for Saturday's main race.
Cuche has a best downhill result this season of fifth _ at Bormio, Italy, last month _ but has been runner-up at Wengen for two straight years, both times behind Bode Miller.
The 31-year-old American is seeking a first World Cup win in 17 events this season while defending his overall title.
Miller was 17th fastest Thursday, 1.95 behind Jerman. He did not speak with reporters at the finish area.
The Austrian team reported that Thomas Graggaber had a shoulder contusion after crashing, but was not seriously hurt.
Markus Larsson of Sweden is being treated at a hospital in nearby Interlaken after he sustained a concussion and broken nose in training Wednesday. The slalom specialist crashed at the S-bend near the finish of what is the longest and most demanding downhill on the circuit.
Overall World Cup leader Benjamin Raich of Austria, another slalom specialist, said he was looking forward to racing on the Lauberhorn.
"I've a good feeling," said Raich, who skied to a steady 36th place Thursday. "It's perfect weather, perfect snow conditions, so that's very important. It's so special here."
The Lauberhorn meeting consists of three races: a super-combi on Friday, the downhill Saturday and a two-run slalom on Sunday.