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First World Cup victory for Kroel

Video by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-03-07

Austria's Klaus Kroel grabbed his first World Cup downhill title in Kvitjfell (Norway). The winner of Friday's downhill, Canada's Manuel Osborne-Paradis, finished third just behind fellow Austrian Michael Walchhofer.

REUTERS - Klaus Kroell beat the fog and his Austrian team leader Michael Walchhofer to win his first World Cup downhill on Saturday.


Kroell's first World Cup victory, in a super-G in Kitzbuehel in January, was also the last in a speed event by an Austrian, the once almighty team having since struggled and failed to make a podium at last month's world championships in Val d'Isere.


The 28-year-old skier from Oeblam clocked one minute and 32.12 seconds on a course shortened because of the lack of visibility.


"I was lucky to start just before the fog got heavier," said Kroell.


"To win my first race in Kitzbuehel was already a climax to my season and this is a bonus, but a brilliant one," he added.

The win was a relief for Kroell, who had had to be content with five podium places in the discipline since 2002.


Walchhofer, the only other Austrian winner of a downhill this season, in Val Gardena on Dec. 20, was 0.27 behind.


Canada's Manuel Osborne-Paradis, who earned his first World Cup victory on the same course on Friday, was third 0.55 off the pace.

Walchhofer is now ideally placed to win his third crystal globe in the discipline, leading Kroell by 75 points before the finals in Are next week, but he had mixed feelings about his second runner-up place in two days.


"On paper, I'm the favourite to win the globe, but I should beware of Klaus, who is in great shape and who robbed me of victory in Kvitfjell, one of the only two World Cup downhills I have never won," he said.

Despite a below-par 14th place, local hero Aksel Lund-Svindal closed in on joint World Cup leaders Ivica Kostelic and Benni Raich. The Croat finished outside the points while the Austrian failed to make it to the bottom.


With 829 points, Svindal is now only eight points behind the two leaders.


The weekend programme in Kvitfjell continues with a super-G on the same Olympiabakken piste on Sunday.

Date created : 2009-03-07