Rahlves collects downhill victories

Daron Rahlves of the United States collected his third World Cup downhill victory of the season, winning on the Lauberhorn course Saturday. Rahlves, the winner at Beaver Creek and Bormio earlier this season, needed 2 minutes, 30.54 seconds to cover the 4,480-meter (2.8-mile) course, the longest race on the World cup circuit.

Austria's Michael Walchhofer, the reigning World Cup downhill champion, was runner up, 0.40 seconds behind. Teammate and Olympic downhill champion Fritz Strobl was third, trailing by 1.06. Rahlves was the first American to win on the 76-year-old Lauberhorn since Kyle Rasmussen in 1995.

"This is one of the races where it's important to do well," said Rahlves, whose previous best result on this course was a second place. "I put it all together, I put down a great run. Those two guys, (Walchhofer and Strobl) you find yourself in front of them, you know it's a good sign."

Rahlves' main goal this season, which he has said will likely be his last, is to win the elusive World Cup downhill title. With the 100 points Saturday's victory gave him, Rahlves moved into second place in the overall standings behind leader Benjamin Raich of Austria, who skipped the downhill in favor of a rest day, feeling his chances of a worthwhile points haul was weak.

Double Olympic champion Hermann Maier was fourth in 2:31.83, for his best result in the discipline since the season-opening downhill in Lake Louise, Canada. Maier, who had bib number 26, said it was a disadvantage to start late as the course got choppy. Defending overall World Cup champion Bode Miller finished 11th, 2.41 off the pace after a couple of mistakes. Miller was supposed to start 27th on the day, but ended up kicking out 31st as a penalty for failing to show up for the mandatory bib draw presentation the previous evening, reports the AP. N.U.