Austria's powerful ski team collected its seventh victory of the season yesterday. But, to the surprise of most, Hermann Maier was not the winner.
Andreas Schifferer, 25, upset his dominating teammate by winning a World Cup downhill race in Val Gardena, Italy. Maier was relegated to third, behind Friday's winner, Kristian Ghedina of Italy.
"It feels great to be ahead of Maier," Schifferer said after winning in 2 minutes 4.78 seconds.
Ghedina posted a time of 2:04.89 seconds, 11 hundredths behind Schifferer. For Maier, who has triumphed five times this season, third was another bitter defeat. A day earlier, he scored his worst result of the season: a sixth place.
"Next year, I will win," Maier pledged after clocking 2:05. "Now I know the track better so I can go faster next time."
The double Olympic and world champion is determined to reclaim the overall World Cup crown he lost last season to Norway's Lasse Kjuss. With a 240-point lead over teammate Stephan Eberharter, Maier is right on track.
Kjuss, who has the flu and did not compete in the downhills, slid to 13th in the standings.
* WOMEN'S ALPINE SKIING: In a downhill marked by crashes, Sweden's Pernilla Wiberg won in 1 minute 12.57 seconds for only the second World Cup downhill victory of her career. But a heavy landing on one of the St. Moritz course's jumps aggravated an old knee injury, previously sore from a crash in a Super-G this season.
"I went off the jump, flew a bit far and landed on the flat part of the course," Wiberg said. "The impact on a landing like that is much worse than on a slope."
Wiberg, who decided to skip the slalom events this year because of the pain it causes, was unsure whether she would compete in today's Super-G.
"I'm old," said Wiberg, 29, an 11-year veteran of the World Cup circuit and the 1997 overall World Cup winner. "I'm not going to take any risks with my knee."
Wiberg plans to have her knee examined over Christmas and undergo surgery if necessary. World Cup downhill champion Renate Goetschl of Austria finished second in 1:12.79.
* CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING: Norway's men took the top two spots in a 30-kilometer cross-country ski race, with Frode Estil claiming his first career World Cup victory and Espen Bjervig the runner-up in Davos, Switzerland.
In the women's 15K race, Olympic champion Olga Danilova edged Russian teammate Larissa Lazutina, repeating last year's triumph.
Estil was timed in 1 hour 16 minutes 30.8 seconds, finishing 31.3 seconds ahead of Bjervig, second at 1:17:02.1. Norway's men have dominated the World Cup circuit this season, and hold the top two spots in the overall standings. Despite a fifth-place finish, Olympic champion Thomas Alsgaard retained his lead in the overall, with 261 points, ahead of Bjervig, second with 213.
Fresh from a 1-2-3 finish last week, the Russian women again dominated, with Danilova clocking 42:36.6 and Lazutina 42:48.5.
* SPEEDSKATING: Jennifer Rodriguez, a former inline skater from Miami, won the 500- and 1,500-meter races at the U.S. Allround Speedskating Championships.
Rodriguez won the 500-meter race in 40.62 seconds, and the 1,500 in 2 minutes 3.03 seconds at the Pettit National Ice Center in West Allis, Wis.
Joseph Cheek won the men's 500 in 37.37, and Derek Parra the 1,500 in 1:51.98.
Results of the races ending Monday will determine the U.S. men's and women's Allround champions and qualify skaters for the Regional/Oceanic competition Jan. 14-16 in Calgary, and for spots on the U.S. Winter World Cup team.
* BOBSLED: Christian Reich and brakeman Urs Aeberhard led a surprising Swiss sweep of gold and silver in the two-man World Cup event in Koenigssee, Germany.
Reich, who also won the season opener at Lillehammer, Norway, swept to fastest times of 47.74 and 47.80 seconds in his heats to finish at 1:35.54 and grab the lead in the overall Cup standings away from Canada's Pierre Lueders.
Reto Goetschi and Christian Aebli overcame starting 14th in the first heat to finish second in 1:36.05.
* SKI JUMPING: Martin Schmitt of Germany won a World Cup event in Zakopane, Poland, beating defending champion Janne Ahonen of Finland.
A jump of 123 meters lifted Schmitt into first place after the first series, and his second jump repeated the result for a total of 260.9 points. Ahonen took second place with 243.9 points after jumps of 121.5 and 116 meters.