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French skier Theaux leads downhill training in Kitzbuehel

January 19, 2016

KITZBUEHEL, Austria (AP) — French skier Adrien Theaux led the first training Tuesday for a men’s World Cup downhill, while Max Franz of Austria was ruled out for the season after damaged his left ankle, knee and wrist in a crash.

Theaux timed 1 minute, 57.68 seconds on the 3.3-kilometer Streif course, leading 2014 winner Hannes Reichelt of Austria by 0.21. Overall World Cup leader Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway and Maxence Muzaton of France both trailed by 0.29 in third.

Kjetil Jansrud, who won the race on a shortened course last year, was 1.77 off the pace.

Franz crashed on the icy and bumpy traverse before entering the final stretch of the course. The Austrian got up and skied down to the finish but a medical check in a clinic in Innsbruck revealed the seriousness of his injuries.

The Austrian ski federation said Franz underwent surgery later Tuesday on a torn syndesmosis and knee joint capsule. Franz was expected to need eight weeks for recovery, which would end his season.

Svindal and Jansrud both won a race in Wengen, Switzerland, last weekend. Svindal leads four-time defending overall champion Marcel Hirscher by 15 points in the overall standings. The Austrian doesn’t compete in downhills.

Theaux won the Dec. 29 downhill in Santa Caterina, Italy, and placed third Friday’s combined event in Wengen. His best result in Kitzbuehel was third in the 2011 downhill.

Organizers moved forward the training by 45 minutes as fog was predicted for the early afternoon. A second practice session is scheduled for Thursday, two days before the race.

Ted Ligety’s name was on the start list but the American preferred to sit out the training and rest, and take part in Thursday’s final session, according to the U.S. ski team.

The traditional Hahnenkamm event will be opened by a super-G and a combined race on Friday, and concluded by a slalom on Sunday.

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