Women's downhill postponed

CORTINA D'AMPEZZO, Italy -- The women's World Cup downhill scheduled for Saturday was postponed until Sunday due to bad weather and soft snow conditions on the Olympia delle Tofane course.

More than a foot of fresh snow fell in Cortina on Friday, and another storm was due in the Dolomites resort later Saturday.

Shortly before the race was due to start, the course was shrouded in fog.

"Everything was done that was possible but we don't feel comfortable about the situation," women's World Cup director Atle Skaardal said.

Skaardal said organizers would try to race the downhill Sunday in a place of a super-G, which will now have to be rescheduled.

"The course condition will not allow us to do any super-G in any case," Skaardal said. "We have to try and find a realistic plan and see if we can do something tomorrow. I don't think it's more than a 50-50 chance, if the weather is going to be really bad now this afternoon and the night again."

The coming storm was forecast to dump more snow on Cortina continuously until Tuesday.

"But we will not give up," Skaardal said. "We will try to do the best with the situation."

Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany led Tina Maze of Slovenia by 0.01 seconds in the opening downhill training session Thursday. Friday's second training session was canceled.

Cortina will also host speed races next weekend due to a lack of snow in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

These races are the final speed events for the women before the Sochi Olympics, which open Feb. 7.

American downhiller Stacey Cook suggested the Games played a role in the postponement.

"(The course) was close to being good enough but it wouldn't have been a fair race and I think with the Olympics being so close that was on a lot of people's minds," she said. "They don't want to risk something stupid happening so close to the Olympics."

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