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France's Deneriaz ends Austrian run

Dec. 21, 2002 at 11:47 AM

VAL GARDENA, Italy, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Frenchman Antoine Deneriaz on Saturday became the first non-Austrian in a year to win a World Cup downhill event.

Deneriaz beat out five Austrians to claim his first World Cup victory, finishing with a time of 1 minute, 55.95 seconds. Michael Walchhofer of Austria was second in 1:56.17.

The next four finishers - Josef Strobl, Fritz Strobl, Werner Franz and Hannes Trinkl - also were Austrian.

The last downhill winner not from Austria was Kristian Ghedina of Italy here a year ago.

Deneriaz had never reached the podium, finishing fourth twice at Val d'Isere, France, including last week. He is the first Frenchman to win a World Cup downhill since Nicolas Burtin at Norway in 1998. Burtin was seventh Saturday.

Austrian Stephan Eberharter, who won the first three downhills of the season, missed the race with a knee injury suffered in a giant slalom crash at France. He still leads the overall standings.

Daron Rahlves was the top American, finishing 11th. Bode Miller was 19th, five spots behind Marco Sullivan.

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