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Brydon leads solid Canadian effort at Lake Louise

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Guay places 17 th in Beaver Creek super G

With world champion downhiller Melanie Turgeon still out with a back injury, Fernie’s Emily Brydon picked up the slack for the Canadian team last week at the Lake Louise World Cup.

Brydon was solid from the start, finishing second and fifth in the downhill training runs. She brought her best game to the competitions, going three-for-three in top-30 finishes, and finishing one race just off the podium in fourth place.

In the first of two women’s World Cup downhill events, Brydon was the lone Canadian to crack the top 30 with a 25 th place finish. Because of her strong training runs, she expected better and was disappointed she went too wide in a couple of critical turns.

"After all my success this week, I needed to be brought back to reality," said Brydon.

Her time of 1:35.45 was just 1.42 seconds back of Carole Montillet of France, the Olympic downhill champion. Germany’s Hilde Gerg was second in 1:34.19 and Kirsten Clark of the U.S. was third in 1:34:33.

Genevieve Simard of Val-Morin, Quebec, was the next Canadian in 38 th . Anne-Marie Lefrancois was 41 st , Kelly VanderBeek was 44 th and Sara-Maude Boucher was 53 rd .

The speed team was back in action the next day, and this time Brydon finished just off the podium in fourth place. Her time of 1:24.87 was just 0.46 back of Renate Goetschl of Austria, and tied the best result ever posted by a Canadian at Lake Louise. Melanie Turgeon and Karen Percy-Lowe were both fourth at previous Lake Louise World Cups.

"The run wasn’t error-free, but I nailed the areas where I made mistakes yesterday," said Brydon, 23. "I was more relaxed today and I had a good game plan and stuck to it."

Montillet won her second downhill gold with a time of 1:24:18. She was followed by Michaela Dorfmeister of Austria in 1:27:30.

Two other Canadians managed to break into the top-30 and earn World Cup points.

Anne-Marie Lefrancois finished 17 th in 1:25.54. "I was thinking I didn’t have a good run because I thought I lost some time in some sections of the course," said the 26-year-old from Charlesbourg, Quebec. "I am very surprised about my rank. I really wasn’t expecting such good results."

After missing almost all of last season with a knee injury, Lefrancois was happy to be competitive at the World Cup level.

Just 0.12 seconds and seven spots back of Lefrancois, Simard was happy to finish 24 th . "I fixed some of the mistakes I had been making all week, and have to say that I am very confident with my skills," she said.

Whistler’s Christina Risler was 40 th overall in 1:26.30. Emilie Desforges was 54 th .

Guay continues to lead men’s speed team

Mont Tremblant’s Erik Guay salvaged the weekend for the men’s speed team at Beaver Creek, Colorado with a 17 th place finish in the super G.

According to head coach Burkhard Schaffer, the team wants to build on Guay’s silver medal at Lake Louise the week before, but doesn’t expect to win every weekend.

"For sure we expect the guys to do better. There’s always room for improvement," said Schaffer. "The courses are all very different. At Beaver Creek, it’s very steep, and it’s one of the most challenging courses on the circuit. The more you race it the better it goes."

The super G gold went to Bjarne Solbakken of Norway, followed by Hermann Maier and Hans Knauss of Austria.

The day before, the Canadians were shut out of the top-30 in the downhill.

The top three spots went to Austrians, with Maier and Knauss finishing first and second and Andreas Schifferer third.

Last weekend’s World Cup races wrapped up the North American leg of the World Cup circuit. Both the men’s and women’s World Cup teams left for Europe this week.

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