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Austrians lead the way in St Moritz

Switzerland's Ambrosi Hoffmann missed the winner's podium by just four-hundredths of a second Keystone

The Austrians have made a grab for gold in St Moritz, with Michaela Dorfmeister winning the women's Super-G race at the Alpine Ski World Championships.

This content was published on February 3, 2003 - 16:26

On Sunday, countryman Stephan Eberharter triumphed in the men's event, ahead of Austrian Hermann Maier and Bode Miller of the US, who came joint second.

On Monday, Dorfmeister finished ahead of Kirsten Clark and Jonna Mendes of the US who took silver and bronze respectively.

The best placed Swiss skier, Corinne Rey-Bellet, came in seventh.

Swiss miss out

A day earlier, Hoffmann had the best result of a frustrating for the host Swiss team. He missed the medal podium by just four-hundredths of a second.

Because Maier and Miller finished second with the same time, no bronze medal was awarded.

Bruno Kernen, from canton Bern, finished eighth, while team mate Didier Cuche managed only 11th.

For Hoffmann, who grew up near St Moritz, his performance was as infuriating as it was good.

"I'm not extremely happy about coming fourth. But I put in a top performance and have to accept the result," Hoffmann said.

Eyes on the downhill

Cuche, who lost valuable time in the bottom section of the 2,358-meter course, said he would make adjustments ahead of the downhill event - which takes place on much of the Super-G course.

"For the downhill, I'll have to test my equipment, especially the boots," Cuche said after the race.

Switzerland's ski team is competing with more than just its pride at stake. National expectations for a successful world championship campaign are higher than ever.

Millions have been spent on preparing the slopes and ski infrastructure alone, while up to SFr1 billion is believed to have been invested in hotels and other businesses.

Jean-Daniel Mudry, Swiss-Ski director and championhip co-organiser, said he was happy with the start - which showed that everything had worked in St Moritz.

He hoped each of the 61 participating teams would leave with positive memories.

"And a desire to return," Mudry said.

The men's Super-G opens two weeks of racing in the Swiss resort, which is hosting Switzerland's first Alpine skiing World Championship since Crans Montana in 1987.

Eberharter clinched gold - taking the title 12 years after his first triumph in the event - in a time of one minute, 38.90 seconds.

He was well ahead of Maier and Miller, who both clocked a time of 1:39.57.

"I fought like a tiger," Eberharter said. "It was my sixth world championship, I had no pressure, I was calm and I liked the slope."

Eberharter - who leads this season's overall World Cup standing - has said this was likely to be his last world championships.

swissinfo, Urs Maurer in St Moritz

St Moritz

Michaela Dorfmeister takes gold in the women's Super-G.
On Sunday, her compatriot Stephan Eberharter won the men's event.
The best placed Swiss was Corrine Rey-Bellet, who came in seventh.
Switzerland's Ambrosi Hoffmann came fourth in the men's race on Sunday.

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In brief

Some 400 athletes are competing in ten races during two weeks.
The event's official budget is SFr80 million, with St Moritz and other regional authorities paying almost half the amount.
The International Ski Federation is contributing SFr30 million, Swiss Olympic SFr1.3 million and other sponsors SFr3 million.
Some 10,000 spectators for each event are expected to generate SFr7 million in revenues.

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