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Fenninger, Theaux fastest in WCup training runs

- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 11, 2014

LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland (AP) - Anna Fenninger was fastest in a World Cup downhill training run Tuesday with overall title rival Maria Hoefl-Riesch resting because of a cold.

Fenninger was 0.86 faster than Fabienne Suter of Switzerland, timing 1 minute, 33.01 seconds on the sunbathed Silvano Beltrametti course.

"It's steep and fast and bumpy, very bumpy," said Fenninger, an Austrian who briefly led the overall standings last week by winning back-to-back giant slaloms in Are, Sweden. "You have to be a good technician skier (so) that you can be fast in (this) downhill."

Racing earlier on the same twisting 2.3-kilometer (1.43-mile) track, Adrien Theaux of France was fastest in the only men's practice run before the final downhill races Wednesday.

Theaux timed 1:31.54, 0.01 ahead of Olympic super-combined champion Sandro Viletta of Switzerland. Another Swiss, Carlo Janka, trailed Theaux by 0.04 in third.

Bode Miller of the United States took a tumble near the finish but was not injured, and Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway missed a gate and finished almost two seconds back.

"It will be a close race," said Svindal, who just missed the podium in three events since leaving the Sochi Olympics early after being weakened by allergies. "It means that I'm not as fast as I was at the beginning of the winter. That's the way it is."

Svindal has already won the season-long downhill title but needs points to take the overall standings lead from Marcel Hirscher of Austria, who skips the speed race. Hirscher leads by only four points with 100 earned by each race winner.

Svindal and Hirscher are each scheduled to start three of the four remaining races in World Cup finals week.

Fenninger is unlikely to start the women's slalom on Saturday, while Hoefl-Riesch has a full slate of four races in five days.

The German leads by 29 overall, and has an 80-point advantage on Fenninger in their duel for the downhill discipline trophy.

"We didn't want to risk that she skies today not in a good shape," German Alpine team director Wolfgang Maier said. "The problem is it would be a chance to lose her for the whole week."

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