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World Cup Skiing : Late-Starting Austrians Take Top Two Places in Downhill

December 11, 1988|Associated Press

VAL GARDENA, Italy — Austrians Helmut Hoeflehner and Patrick Ortlieb, exploiting rapidly changing weather and snow conditions, finished 1-2 and upset Swiss favorites in a World Cup downhill race Saturday.

Late starts helped both Hoeflehner and Ortlieb, who skied in the second group, starting 23rd and 30th, respectively. It was Austria's first downhill victory in nearly 3 years.

Peter Mueller of Switzerland, who won the season's opening downhill on the same course Friday, finished third.

Hoeflehner flashed down the 3.4-kilometer course in 2 minutes 02.67 seconds. Ortlieb trailed his teammate by only .08 of a second. Mueller was .35 behind the winner.

"There was no wind, and visibility was perfect," said Hoeflehner, who finished 12th Friday.

Mueller, a world downhill champion, complained that the wind, which eased for the second-group starters, "produced two different races."

Olympic champion Pirmin Zurbriggen skied in the first group and finished 23rd, 1.7 seconds slower than Hoeflehner.

Although failing to pick up any points, Zurbriggen remained the leader in the overall standings with 62 points after 5 races.

Mueller advanced to second place with 40 points, 3 ahead of Hoeflehner.

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