SPORTS

Reichelt fastest in training run for Switzerland's classic Lauberhorn race

01/12/2012 10:06 EST | Updated 03/13/2012 05:12 EDT
WENGEN, Switzerland - Hannes Reichelt of Austria was fastest in a training run ahead of Saturday's World Cup downhill on the Lauberhorn course.

With Austria's men seeking a first speed-race win this season, Reichelt clocked two minutes 37.46 seconds on Thursday down the longest track on tour.

Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway fought a heavy cold to be 0.16 seconds slower on the quirky, 4.4-kilometre course. Switzerland's Carlo Janka, the 2010 Lauberhorn winner, trailed Reichelt by 0.31 in third.

"It's a little bit faster (than Wednesday) but not much," Janka said.

Warm sunshine once more softened and slowed the race surface. More sunshine is forecast for the Saturday lunchtime race.

Defending champion Klaus Kroell of Austria was sixth and Erik Guay of Mont-Tremblant, Que., was ninth.

Didier Cuche, a three-time runner-up in his home classic race, was 16th and had problems with his ski edges after being second-fastest on Wednesday.

"It's not a good feeling to come into the finish and know it was not so good," said the 37-year-old Swiss, who has four seasonlong downhill titles but could be facing his last chance to win at Wengen.

Bode Miller of the United States, who beat Cuche for victory in 2007 and '08, trailed Reichelt by 2.40 and placed 32nd.

Miller, who leads the World Cup downhill standings after three of the 11 scheduled races, declined to speak with reporters.

Two Vancouver Olympics medallists were the only racers among 79 starters who failed to complete their run, after finding trouble at the same spot.

Downhill champion Didier Defago of Switzerland, the 2009 winner here, and American super-G bronze medallist Andrew Weibrecht both lost their left ski coming across a steep traverse into a sharp right-hand turn. Neither sustained serious injuries.

"I only skied the first third but I thought the snow was significantly better," Weibrecht said. "You could race on it and not just try to hang on."

Jan Hudec of Calgary was 35th, Robbie Dixon of North Vancouver was 51st and Louis-Pierre Helie of Berthierville, Que., was 55th. Benjamin Thomsen of Invermere, Ont., was 61st, Conrad Pridy was 64th and Ryan Semple, also of Whistler, B.C., was 69th.

The 82nd Lauberhorn meeting opens with a super-combined event on Friday.

Janka said he would skip that race, which he won in 2009, and was weighing whether to take a mid-season break to ease persistent back pains.

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