Mon, Dec 13, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Meissnitzer feels right at home on Kaelberloch hill

AP , ZAUCHENSEE, AUSTRIAAP, OSLO, NORWAYAP, HARRACHOV, CZECH REPUBLICAP, TESERO, ITALY

Alexandra Meissnitzer won a super-G at home on Saturday, taking victory on the Kaelberloch course in 1 minute 13.04 seconds.

Meissnitzer edged out Italian Lucia Recchia in 1:13.32 and Slovenia's Tina Maze in 1:13.56. Maze produced a major upset, snatching third place on a late run from American Caroline Lalive.

A giant slalom specialist, Maze was the 64th in the 71-woman field to ski. But she overcame a choppy piste to claim her first podium finish in the discipline.

Lalive was fourth in 1:13.64 and fellow American Julia Mancuso fifth in 1:13.69.

The victory was the 13th of Meissnitzer's career, who sped up through the center part of the course.

"It is great that I could get rid of my old habits of being fast in the first, but not quick enough in the second half of the race," she said.

The 31-year-old from Abtenau, a village just north of Zauchensee and near Hermann Maier's home town Flachau, suffered what she called "a disastrous weekend" in Lake Louise, Canada, where she finished 25th in the super-G and 36th in the downhill.

Ole Einar Bjorndalen won the men's sprint for his 45th career World Cup biathlon victory Saturday before his home fans at Holmenkollen, while Olga Zaitseva of Russia took the women's event.

Bjorndalen, a five-time Olympic champion who is considered the greatest male biathlete in history, shot clean and finished the 10km competition in 22 minutes, 04.0 seconds.

Raphael Poiree of France, who beat Bjorndalen for the overall title last season in the final meet at Holmenkollen, was 1:01.6 behind in second place. He had one miss.

"I think this was the best race I've ever had -- it was perfect from start to finish," Bjorndalen said.

During dry-land training in the summer, Bjorndalen gave priority to shooting practice.

"I never thought it would pay off so soon, maybe after half a year or one year," he said.

Halvard Hanevold, another Norwegian, took third, 1:05.2 back, with one missed target.

After four of 27 events, Bjorndalen leads the overall standings with 180 points. German Sven Fischer, who was 10th Saturday, dropped to second with 166. Poiree is third with 163 points.

Adam Malysz of Poland won a World Cup ski jumping competition on Saturday, becoming the first jumper this season to beat Janne Ahonen of Finland.

Malysz, the 2003 World Cup champion, jumped 143m in the first round on the K125 hill at the northern Czech ski resort of Harrachov. He added a 136m effort in the second round to collect a total of 284.2 points.

It was Malysz's 25th career World Cup competition victory.

Ahonen, who won the first four World Cup meets of the season -- two in Finland's Kuusamo and two in Norway's Trondheim -- finished second with 279.0 points for his leaps of 141m and 136.5m.

Ahonen still comfortably leads the overall standings with 480 points. Malysz is eighth overall on 176 points.

Germany's Georg Spath took the third spot on the podium with 278.8 points after jumps of 135m and 141m.

Cross country World Cup leader Axel Teichmann overcame a tangle with fellow competitors in the closing stages Saturday to win a double pursuit race.

The German's victory in the 30km World Cup event increased his lead in the overall standings. He now has 383 points, ahead of France's Vincent Vittoz and Vassili Rotchev of Russia, who are tied for second with 198.

Teichmann was forced to a brief but complete stop when he was involved in an entanglement featuring a few other skiers shortly after the 28km mark. Fellow German Jens Filbrich came in second on Saturday, 0.7 seconds behind Teichmann's winning time of 1 hour, 13 minutes and 14 seconds.

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