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Berthod third in final downhill

Berthod (right) celebrates her first downhill podium finish alongside race winner Gerg

(Keystone)

Swiss skier Sylviane Berthod has saved her best performance of the season for last, coming third in the final women's World Cup downhill race at Are.

The 23-year-old from canton Valais stormed down the Swedish course in a time of 1'16"97, four tenths of a second behind the race winner, Hilde Gerg of Germany.

The third-place finish marked a career best for Berthod in the downhill discipline. Her only previous podium finish came after a super-G race in Cortina two seasons ago, when she came second.

Italy's Isolde Kostner took second place in Are to clinch the overall World Cup downhill title. Austria's Renate Götschl, the only athlete who had a chance to catch Kostner, failed to finish after falling on the upper part of the course.

Corinne Rey-Bellet ended the downhill season as the best-placed Swiss, finishing joint ninth in Are to hold onto eighth place in the overall downhill standings.

In the men's downhill race, Switzerland's Franco Cavegn finished fourth, missing out on a podium place by just two hundredths of a second. Graubünden's Silvano Beltrametti came in sixth.

Thursday's results ensured that Cavegn finished the overall downhill standings in sixth place, just 24 points ahead of Beltrametti, who finished seventh.

The day's biggest winner was Hermann Maier, who clinched the overall World Cup downhill title with another impressive victory at the Swedish resort. The Austrian finished more than a third of a second ahead of his compatriot and last remaining rival, Stephan Eberharter.

Maier has already secured the men's overall title with victories in both the super-G and downhill disciplines. On Saturday he is set to renew battle with Switzerland's Michael von Grünigen in the deciding race for the men's giant slalom title.

swissinfo with agencies


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