Castillo puts Spain back on the map with downhill win

Reuters, MERIBEL, France

Mon, Feb 25, 2013 - Page 19

Carolina Ruiz Castillo put Spain back on the Alpine skiing map by winning the women’s World Cup downhill in Meribel on Saturday, the first victory in the sport’s blue riband event by any Spaniard.

At 31, the Chilean-born skier who trains in France outpaced the leading favorites to clinch her first World Cup victory, 13 years after her only podium to date in a giant slalom in Sestriere. Ruiz Castillo won in 1 minute, 42.56 seconds to bridge a seven-year gap since the last top spot earned by compatriot Maria Jose Rienda Contreras in a giant slalom in Hafjell seven years ago.

Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch, the super-combined world champion in Schladming, was second, 0.20 seconds adrift for her third downhill podium of the winter after Lake Louise and her bronze medal at the worlds earlier this month.

Local favorite Marie Marchand-Arvier missed the runners-up spot by the slimmest margin, finishing 0.01 behind Hoefl-Riesch.

World Cup leader Tina Maze of Slovenia missed the podium by 0.07 seconds, but added 50 points to her overall World Cup tally, taking it to 1,744 points ahead of Hoefl-Riesch on 886.



Italian Christof Innerhofer secured his third World Cup downhill win of the season when he held off a trio of Austrians on the German Kandahar piste on Saturday.

Dubbed “Winnerhofer” when he won the Super-G world title in Garmisch-Partenkirchen two years ago, Innerhofer lived up to his nickname by taking victory in 1 minute, 37.83 seconds.

On a course he relishes, the Italian followed up wins at Beaver Creek and Wengen by finishing 0.12 ahead of Georg Streitberger.

Klaus Kroell was 0.16 off the pace, followed by Hannes Reichelt and Norway’s world champion Aksel Lund Svindal.