Canadians struggle in Europe 

Forsyth leads in downhill

It was a disappointing weekend for the Canadian Alpine Ski Team, which has struggled in recent weeks after winning seven medals in late December and early January.

At Wengen, Switzerland, which hosted a men’s slalom, downhill and combined event, none of the skiers managed to crack the top-20.

In the slalom, Whistler’s Michael Janyk led the way for the Canadians with a 24 th place finish as teammate Thomas Grandi skied off course in the first run. Giorgio Rocca of Italy won his fourth slalom race in a row, edging out Kalle Palander of Finland and Alois Vogl of Germany.

In the downhill, the top result belonged to Erik Guay in 20 th – despite finishing with some of the fastest qualifying times earlier in the week. John Kucera was 27 th .

The win went to Daron Rahlves of the U.S., followed by Michael Walchhofer and Fritz Strobl of Austria.

In the combined event, which includes downhill and slalom disciplines, the top skier was Austria’s Benjamin Raich, followed by Kjetil Andre Aamodt of Norway and Peter Fill of Italy. Ryan Semple was the top Canadian in 21 st .

The women’s team did slightly better at Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria, led by Nanaimo’s Allison Forsyth.

In the first of two downhill events, Ontario’s Kelly Vanderbeek was the top Canadian in 17 th place, while Forsyth tied for 20 th . Emily Brydon was 23 rd to round out the top-30.

The winner was Anja Paerson of Sweden, followed by Michaela Dorfmeister of Austria and Swiss skier Fraenzi Aufdenblatten.

In the second downhill Forsyth posted a career-best 14 th place result in the downhill, and was half a second back of the top-five. Emily Brydon and Sherry Lawrence also finished in the top-30 in 25 th and 28 th respectively.

Janica Kostelic of Croatia took the gold medal, followed by Nike Bent of Sweden and Michaela Dorfmeister of Austria.

In the final event of the weekend, a super-G, Forsyth finished a career-best 17 th to lead the Canadian team. Brydon was 25 th .

"I didn’t ski as well today as I have been of late but it’s still a solid result," said Forsyth. "I’m on the right path for training for the Olympics."

Kostelic claimed her second gold medal of the weekend, while Dorfmeister tied teammate Alexandra Meissnitzer for the silver medal.

Alpine Canada Alpin, the executive body for ski racing in Canada, has set a goal of qualifying 22 athletes for the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Italy – double the number of 2002. So far the team has qualified 15 athletes, many of them competing in more than one discipline: Thomas Grandi, Genevieve Simard, Emily Brydon, Allison Forsyth, Kelly Vanderbeek, Francois Bourque, Jean-Philippe Roy, Patrick Biggs, Michael Janyk, Brigitte Acton, Erik Guay, John Kucera, Manuel Osborne-Paradis, Sherry Lawrence and Ryan Semple.

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