Jerman Gives Slovenia First Downhill Win

Friday, February 23rd 2007, 8:28 am
By: News On 6

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) _ Andrej Jerman gave Slovenia its first World Cup downhill win Friday, mastering a difficult course in tough conditions.

Jerman covered the 3,455-meter long Kandahar course in 1 minute, 56.82 seconds to beat Hans Grugger of Austria by 0.22 of a second.

Erik Guay of Canada was third in 1:57.26.

Jerman's previous best finishes on the circuit were a pair of fourth places, one of them in a combined.

``This is amazing,'' the 28-year-old Slovene said.

``I've been working a lot for this and I had to overcome many injuries in my career. This is a great reward,'' he said.

Jerman took advantage of a relatively early starting number (11), when the course was still holding up in mild weather.

``The course was getting bad and soft, but I had no problems,'' he said.

Jerman finished 17th in downhill at the World Championship in Are, Sweden, that finished Sunday.

Slovenia has produced a number of excellent technical skiers and winners in slalom and giant slalom races but until now it had no notable results in downhill and stages no World Cup downhill races.

Friday's race replaced a downhill from Kitzbuehel, Austria, that had to be called off in January because of bad conditions. Another downhill is scheduled for Saturday in this southern German resort, with a slalom to follow on Sunday.

Later starters that included several top-ranked skiers were well off the pace.

Hermann Maier of Austria, who celebrated the first win of his storied career here exactly 10 years ago, was not in the top 20. Neither was Bode Miller of the United States.

Michael Walchhofer of Austria crashed heavily in a curve at the bottom of the course and was taken to a local hospital with suspected cracked ribs.

World Cup downhill leader Didier Cuche of Switzerland was already on the course when Walchhofer went flying into the safety netting. Cuche had to restart, also finishing well down the field.