Fenninger puts men in shade in World Cup warm-up

Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:02pm EDT
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By Patrick Lang

LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland (Reuters) - Austrian Anna Fenninger clocked the 16th fastest time of the women's and men's fields combined in World Cup downhill training on Tuesday.

Fenninger, who will battle it out with Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch for the overall women's World Cup title in the Swiss resort this week, was timed at one minute 33.01 seconds.

She was quicker than 10 male skiers who made the run, including downhill specialists such as World Cup winner Aksel Lund Svindal, Austrian Klaus Kroell and Olympic silver medalist Christof Innerhofer of Italy.

While the result was not significant - and noting that skiers often slow down towards the finish of training sessions to conserve energy - it showed how motivated Fenninger is after winning the Super-G gold medal at the Winter Olympics as well as three World Cup giant slaloms in succession.

The 24-year-old from Salzburg also complained to men's World Cup director Gunter Hujara, who is in charge of the women's competition, that he was treating the women too cautiously.

Hujara has ordered the women to wear race outfits that slow them down and mitigate against the risk of accident.

"It was a strange decision," Fenninger said after finishing one and a half seconds slower than the fastest man on the day, France's Adrien Theaux.

"I'm afraid Mr. Hujara is underestimating our level. He doesn't seem aware of our capacities and yet he used to coach the German women's (team)."   Continued...

Austria's Anna Fenninger celebrates after winning the FIS women's giant slalom world cup alpine skiing race in Are, March 7, 2014. REUTERS/Pontus Lundahl/TT News Agency