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Switzerland's Beat Feuz defends Birds of Prey downhill title

BEAVER CREEK, Colo. -- Beat Feuz of Switzerland won the Birds of Prey downhill race for a second straight season with a precise run through a shortened course.

Feuz was solid up top and nearly flawless the rest of the way to finish the World Cup race in 1 minute, 12.98 seconds on an overcast Saturday. Johan Clarey of France and Vincent Kriechmayr of Austria tied for second. The start was lowered on the hill due to strong wind.

It's the second straight day the Swiss have won at Beaver Creek. Marco Odermatt captured the super-G title Friday.

Feuz joins some elite company in winning back-to-back World Cup downhill competitions in Beaver Creek. Austrian great Hermann Maier and Norwegian standout Aksel Lund Svindal also accomplished the feat.

The 38-year-old Clarey turned in quite a performance as the 19th racer of the day to tie Kriechmayr. His result pushed 39-year-old Hannes Reichelt of Austria off the podium.

No hard feelings, Reichelt said.

"It's bad that I didn't reach the podium here, because maybe it's the last time here," said Reichelt, who was 0.02 seconds away from a podium position.

So, just why does Feuz race so well on this course?

"Why is he so good on all courses?" Reichelt responded. "It's amazing that he is always -- and it doesn't matter on which slope -- in the top five."

Feuz was third in the first downhill of the season in Lake Louise, Alberta, last weekend. That race was won by Thomas Dressen of Germany. Dressen didn't have a clean run Saturday and was 19th. More than anything, this was a week for Dressen to make peace with the Birds of Prey course after he crashed last season and tore the ACL in his right knee.

"Last year, I made a mistake and got injured," Dressen said. "This year I made a mistake and lost a lot of time. I'm pretty happy to leave here, but looking forward to getting here next year."

American Ryan Cochran-Siegle was the fastest in a downhill training run earlier in the week. He showed that speed Saturday by finishing sixth for his best World Cup finish.

"Kind of just pure happiness and joy," said Cochran-Siegle, whose best World cup result before Saturday was 10th place. "I wasn't planning on being fast in the first training run. After winning that, I felt like there was a little bit more of a spotlight. I was trying to just handle it and showing that I can perform on race day. I think that's pretty huge."