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24/11/2017 - 23:01
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FIS Ski Federation

Croatian Olympic Comittee
San Sicario (ITA), 23.02.2005.
Janica Kosteliuc 3rd fastest in first training run
The new downhill World Champion Janica Kostelic was a relaxed 3rd today in the first training run held on the newly designed "Freiteve Olympic" course, at 39/100 of a second behind Itayl's Lucia Recchia. The triple World Champion from Santa Caterina stood-up before crossing the finish line yet she still finished ahead established speed specialists as Austria's Michaela Dorfmeister and Renate Goetschl, while Anja Paerson was a solid 6th.

The newly designed "Freiteve Olympic" run is the longest on the women's tour with its 2,538 meters for a vertical drop of 800 meters.

In fact, most of the skiers were tired at the end of their run.

"You spend most of your time in your tuck, it's not such a difficult course. In fact I would say that Italy has added two and a half kilometres to its highway network," said an ironic Goetschl, the leader in the downhill standings. "It's just too bad we can't race on the Banchetta course in Sestriere where the Finals took place last year and also the 1997 World Championships. I can only hope that the snow will become faster to make it a little more exciting. I expected a tougher course for the 2006 Olympics!"

Kostelic, who reached her first World Cup podium in downhill last month in Cortina d'Ampezzo before clinching gold at Santa Caterina, was smiling after her practise run. "It was a cool run, there are nice jumps, a few turns and some fast sections too, but the course is not so demanding," she said.

"Yet I just enjoyed my run, downhill is a fun specialty. I feel relaxed and I just went for it. My staff is very excited because I have a good chance to win again the Overall World Cup title and they spent much time today explaining me how I should ski that course, and which are the key sections and so on, but I told them to take it easy and let me run my own race the way I feel it," she added with a grin.

"Of course I wish to achieve some good race in the coming weeks but I don't need to be psyched up and pushed. I'm faster when I'm relaxed and having a great time. When I try too hard to be fast or when I'm too aggressive as in some giant slaloms, I often make mistakes or crash out. So I really know what the best is for me."

Janica, who is already planning her career after the 2006 Olympics - eventually without her father and trainer Ante Kostelic, has a strong chance to take over the lead in the Overall Standings this weekend. She should be able to score more points than Anja Paerson in the speed events on Friday and Saturday - first a Super-G and then a downhill - and in Sunday's news "Super-combined" introduced in this year's World Cup calendar, a shorter downhill followed by a single-run slalom.

"I'll give my best, but I have already reached more than I thought this season, so I don't put extra pressure on me. Everything can happen. There are still five good skiers who have a real chance to clinch the Overall title, so we will see."

Another training run in scheduled for Thursday morning which will be decisive for the start-order on Saturday.

Patrick Lang
Ivica Kostelic official website
Croatian ski team official website
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