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Italian Wins Downhill Ski Race

December 19, 1998

VAL GARDENA, Italy (AP) _ Kristian Ghedina of Italy won the World Cup downhill race today, ending the two-race winning streak of Norwegian Lasse Kjus, who finished second.

Ghedina clocked a winning time of two minutes, 4.17 seconds down the 3,495-meter long Saslong course.

Kjus, winner of the season’s two previous World Cup downhills, finished 0.14 seconds behind.

He held to his lead in the World Cup overall standings.

Werner Franz edged Austrian teammate Hermann Maier for third place, 0.28 seconds behind the winner.

Maier complained that a race steward disturbed his run crossing the course as he was coming down. The jury did not immediately accept the Austrian team complaint as the skier did not stop and made it to the finish line, still in fourth place.

The Austrians are winless after three downhill races this season following a triumphant start in the other three disciplines of the World Cup.

Ghedina’s time today was nearly two seconds slower than Kjus’ winning time the previous day, over the same icy course and distance.

The race was marred by a bad spill by Olympic downhill champion Jean-Luc Cretier, who suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Mauro Cornaz, coach of the French downhill team, said Cretier tore a ligament and sustained bruises on his face and hands.

Cretier fell at an icy section shortly after the start, skidded off the track and fell over a ridge of snow and grass.

Two other skiers, American Ehlias Louis and France’s David Pretot, torn knee ligaments in falls during Friday’s race.

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