Stephens, Nichols podium in World Cup downhill

Jan. 20, 2010, 2:25 p.m. (ET)

SESTRIERE, Italy  - The U.S. Alpine Adaptive Team had two podiums in the opening speed race in Sestriere on Wednesday. Laurie Stephens (Wenham, MA; sit-ski) and Alana Nichols (Farmington, NM; sit-ski) finished side by side in the second and third position.

Canada led the way in victories with Chris Williamson winning the visually impaired classification and Lauren Woolstencroft winning the standing. Germany's Gerd Schoenfelder won the men's standing division and Slovakia's Henrieta Farkasova won the women's visually impaired category. The sit-ski group was won by Great Britain's Sean Rose and Austria's Claudia Loesch.

Stephens and Nichols were the only two Americans to podium, trailing Loesch in second and third place. Danelle Umstead (Taos, NM; visually impaired) put forth a solid effort finishing in fifth place. Allison Jones (Winter Park, CO; standing) just missed the top five, ending the day in seventh.

Carl Burnett (Winter Park, CO; sit-ski) was the top U.S. male athlete, finishing in ninth place. Nick Catanzarite (Winter Park, CO; sit-ski) and Kevin Bramble (Cape May Court House, NJ; sit-ski) raced to the finish respectively finishing in 13th and 28th. Monte Meier (Park City, UT; standing) and John Whitney (Snowmass Village, CO; standing) found themselves in the top 25 finishing in 14th and 22nd.

The U.S.A. had quite a few DNFs in the first of four speed races. Podium hopefuls Tyler Walker (Franconia, NH; sit-ski), Chris Devlin-Young (Campton, NH; sit-ski) and Stephani Victor (Park City, UT; sit-ski) had trouble making it across the finish line.

The U.S. Adaptive Alpine Team will be back on the slopes Thursday for the second downhill race of the Italian series. The Team will charge full speed ahead.

World Cup
Sestriere, Italy
January 20, 2010

Men Sit-Ski

1. Sean Rose, Great Britain, 1:13.51
2. Akira Kano, Japan, 1:14.49
3. Reinhold Sampl, Austria, 1:14.76
4. Nicolas Loussalez, France, 1:14.95
5. Martin Braxenthaler, Germany, 1:15.70
9. Carl Burnett, Winter Park, CO, 1:17.68
13. Nick Catanzarite, Winter Park, CO1:18.88
28. Kevin Bramble, Cape May Court House, NJ, 1:35.32
DNF: Tyler Walker, Franconia, NH, Chris Devlin Young, Campton, NH, Joe Tompkins, Juneau, AK, Gregory Peck, Wasilla, AK, Heath Calhoun, Snowmass Village, CO

Men Standing

1. Gerd Schoenfelder, Germany, 1:14.33
2. Michael Bruegger, Switzerland, 1:16.30
3. Vincent Gauthier-Manuel, France, 1:16.74
4. Cameron Rahles-Rahbula, Austria, 1:16.07
5. Thomas Pfyl, Switzerland, 1:17.53
14. Monte Meier, Park City, UT, 1:22.13
22. John Whitney, Fraser, CO, 1:23.65
DNF: Ralph Green, Vail, CO

Men Visually Impaired

1. Chris Williamson, Canada, 1:13.22
2. Jon Santacana, Spain, 1:14.35
3. Miroslav Haraus, Slovakia, 1:15.33
4. Jakub Krako, Slovakia, 1:15.78
5. Gerd Gradwohl, Germany, 1:17.98

Women Sit-Ski

1. Claudia Loesch, Austria, 1:22.06
2. Laurie Stephens, Wenham, MA, 1:22.69
3. Alana Nichols, Farmington, NM, 1:23.68
4. Kuniko Obinata, Japan, 1:37.58
DNF: Stephani Victor, Park City, UT

Women Standing

1. Lauren Woolstencrfot, Canada, 1:20.06
2. Karolina Wisniewska, Canada, 1:22.39
3. Melania Corradini, Italy, 1:22.54
4. Andrea Rothfuss, Germany, 1:22.64
5. Petra Smarzova, Slovakia, 1:23.16
7. Allison Jones, Winter Park, CO, 1:25.67

Women Visually Impaired

1. Henrieta Farkasova, Slovakia, 1:21.48
2. Anna Kuliskova, Czech Republic, 1:22.47
3. Viviane Forest, Canada, 1:26.18
4. Melissa Perrine, Australia, 1:27.93
5. Danelle Umstead, Taos, NM, 1:28.96