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Fog postpones men's downhill at world championships

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ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (AP) A downhill double-header is now lined up Sunday at the ski world championships.

The marquee races for women and men should go back-to-back after Saturday's men's downhill was postponed due to fog, race organizers decided.

The women's downhill featuring Lindsey Vonn should start at 11.15 a.m. (1015 GMT) - brought forward by 45 minutes from its original slot. A 38-racer lineup and post-race ceremonies are likely to occupy the course for around 90 minutes.

A 1:30 p.m. (1230 GMT) start is slated for the men's downhill on an adjoining track with 57 potential starters.

A second day of delays for the men's downhill could postpone the race again, team coaches were warned, because broadcasters are committed to live coverage later Sunday afternoon of the biathlon world championships.

The women's downhill will take priority Sunday, when sunshine and some clouds at higher altitude are forecast.

With Vonn among the favorites to win her first world title since 2009, United States team director Patrick Riml said the changes should not disrupt his racers' preparation.

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''It doesn't take anything away from anybody,'' Riml said of the new schedule. ''I think it's important to do it (Sunday). The guys want to race.''

Back-to-back downhill world titles have been decided before, at the 2007 worlds on the middle Sunday after a similar foggy Saturday in Are, Sweden.

A two races per day schedule is routine - though with smaller lineups of around 25 starters - at the World Cup finals meeting held each March. Next month, the season-ending races are at Aspen, Colorado.

Availability of hotel rooms was also a factor in opting not to push the entire program back by one day, coaches said. Speed race specialists are due to leave St. Moritz on Sunday, and the slalom and giant slalom skiers will arrive for their events.

Saturday's program was wiped despite bright sunshine and clear blue skies in the finish area where most of a 40,000 crowd had gathered.

The men's downhill race was repeatedly delayed from its planned midday (1100 GMT) start, but fog hung over parts of the 2.77-kilometer (1 }-mile) Corviglia course.

Visibility was down to around 20 meters (yards) in places. That was unsafe on a hill where racers exceed 120 kph (75 mph).