Kildow wins World Cup downhill

Lindsey Kildow won a women's World Cup downhill race Saturday, with fellow American Caroline Lalive in second place. It was the second downhill win of the season for Kildow, who leads the World Cup downhill standings with 245 points. She won at Lake Louise, Alberta, this month. Austria's Alexandra Meissnitzer placed third, ahead of Germany's Petra Haltmayr.

Kildow is second in the overall standings with 322 points, trailing Austria's Michaela Dorfmeister on 366. Dorfmeister is second in the downhill standings with 172 points. "The conditions here were tough and it was really difficult to do well," Kildow said. "You couldn't see anything and I could hardly control my skis. But I have had a good feeling in downhill and a lot of confidence after Lake Louise." Last season, Kildow finished sixth in the overall standings as the youngest skier in the top 10. She is expected to be a leading downhill contender at the Winter Olympics in Turin in February. "There a lot of good girls in contention," Kildow said. "Meissnitzer and Dorfmeister especially. These two are going to be hard to beat. They have a lot of experience which I don't have." The start of the race was delayed by about 1 1/2 hours because of heavy overnight snowfall and swirling wind. A 30-centimeter layer of snow covered the course Saturday morning. "It was really on the limit today," Meissnitzer said. "One of my teammates got hurt, but I don't think it was too dangerous to race. I'm totally happy I got third."

Kildow, 21, is the first American woman to finish on the podium at Val d'Isere since Picabo Street placed second in a downhill in 1996. Kildow's winning time was 1 minute, 21.91 seconds, with Lalive clocking 1:22.29 and Meissnitzer, who won a won a giant slalom and super-G at Val d'Isere in 1998, crossing the line in 1:22.30.

Lalive, who has been a member on the U.S. ski team since she was 17, recorded her first podium finish since placing second in a downhill at Altenmarkt in March 2002. "It's really great for our team today and really great for me," the 26-year-old Lalive said. "It's almost four years since I've been on the podium. I've definitely had some moments when I thought about quitting. But I told myself how much I love skiing, and that was my light at the end of the tunnel", reports the AP. N.U.

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