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Maiden World Cup downhill win for Goergl

By Patrick Lang BAD KLEINKIRCHEIM, Austria (Reuters) - Austrian Elisabeth Goergl made the best of the home advantage to earn her maiden World Cup downhill victory in Bad Klienkircheim Saturday.

Goergl, who is world champion in the discipline, mastered the steep Franz Klammer piste to top the field in one minute and 48.40 seconds.

It was also Goergl's first win of the season after three podium places.

American Julia Mancuso, the Olympic silver-medalist, was second, 0.16 seconds behind Goergl and Switzerland's Fabienne Suter was third.

"I could not dream of a greater success, I'm very excited by this victory on home snow in front of my fans and family," said Goergl, whose mother Traudl Hecher won Olympic medals in the early 1960s.

"The course conditions were perfect for me, I love these challenging runs requiring a lot of determination. I fought very hard from top to bottom and didn't feel so comfortable on my way down, that's why I was so elated when I saw the number one next to my name on the timing board," she said.

Lindsey Vonn, winner of the first two downhills of the season in Lake Louise, almost crashed on the upper part and lost nearly a second in time in the process.

The Olympic champion took plenty of risks in an attempt to make up the time and managed to finish fourth.

"I fought as hard as possible, but I did not have that much energy at the start and made this terrible mistake in that sharp left turn where I fell on my back," the three-times overall World Cup champion said.

"I was lucky to make the next gate and then I gave it my best to make up as much time as possible but I kept on making small mistakes which cost me precious time. It's not fun to be racing on such a demanding slope when you're sick," the American added.

Vonn retained her lead in the overall standings on 691 points, 151 points ahead of Austrian slalom specialist Marlies Schild.

Overall World Cup champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch's poor start to the season continued when the German pulled out of the race ill. She will also miss Sunday's Super-G on the same piste.

(Reporting by Patrick Lang; Editing By Alison Wildey)