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WENGEN, Switzerland (Jan. 19 – News Release) – Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) survived a splintered ski Sunday on his first run of slalom to reclaim the World Cup points lead as he finished second in combined after tying for 11th in slalom on the final day of the 73rd Lauberhorn weekend. Giorgio Rocca of Italy won the slalom, his first victory of the season, with Erik Schlopy (Park City, UT) ninth and Scott Macartney (Redmond, WA) eighth in the combined calculation.
Outdoor Life Network will broadcast race coverage today at 4 p.m. EST and has its weekly World Cup highlights show each Thursday night at 10 p.m. EST.
Rocca was deadlocked in the first run with World Cup leader Ivica Kostelic of Croatia, who had won the last three slaloms. However, he turned-in the second-fasted final run and earned the win in 1:47.88 when Kostelic ran into problems, dropping to third place.
With temperatures in the upper 20s, conditions held up well, said U.S. men’s Head Coach Phil McNichol. He pointed to Japan’s Akira Sasaki, who started 65th and finished second with a blazing second run, and Canada’s Julien Cousineau, who ran 75th and was 10th.
“Bode broke one of his skis on his first run,” McNichol said, “hitting a gate that struck the tip of his ski. It broke the tip protector and the ski delaminated, part of the edge folding back on him. He made quite an acrobatic move at the bottom to finish…very impressive show. He did a damn good job.”
On the second run, Miller – 15th after the first run despite the shattered ski – had the sixth-fastest time, skiing under control to ensure his finish. Schlopy moved from 13th to ninth overall with Chip Knight (Stowe, VT) moving up from 22nd to 17th.
Olympic champion Kjetil Andre Aamodt of Norway finished seventh in slalom and pulled past Miller to edge him in the combined calculation. Miller had been sixth in Saturday’s downhill with Aamodt eighth.
Macartney, in becoming the 10th U.S. man to score World Cup points, was 37th in downhill and his slalom performance pushed him to eighth in combined. Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA) and World Cup rookie Bryon Friedman (Park City, UT) didn’t finish their slalom run, so they fell out of the combined tally.
“This is a tough hill, hard snow…pretty icy,” McNichol said. “It’s got some steepness, some dog-legs in a couple of places. You have to be ‘on’ it.”
Schlopy skied “a little conservative in a few spots,” the coach said, “but he got a good finish, some good points, so that’s a big positive…and Chip (Knight) keeps scoring. He’s finished every slalom and keeps building that confidence.”
The men move on to Kitzbuehel for another combined weekend – downhill, super G, slalom and combined, leading to a night slalom on the 28th in Schladming, the final events before the alpine World Championships open Feb. 2 in St. Moritz, Switzerland. The U.S. team is expected to be named before Schladming.
FIS ALPINE WORLD CUP
Wengen, SUI – Jan. 19
1. Giorgio Rocca, Italy, 1:47.88
2. Akira Sasaki, Japan, 1:47.92
3. Ivica Kostelic, Croatia, 1:48.59
4. Kalle Palander, Finland, 1:48.61
5. Hans-Petter Buraas, Norway, 1:48.64
9. Erik Schlopy, Park City, UT, 1:49.24
11T. Bode Miller, Franconia, NH, 1:49.44
17. Chip Knight, Stowe, VT, 1:50.11
Did not qualify for 2nd run: Tom Rothrock, Cashmere, WA; Scott Macartney, Redmond, WADid not finish 1st run: Marco Sullivan, Squaw Valley, CA; Bryon Friedman, Park City, UT
Combined (Saturday DH/Sunday SL)
1. Kjetil Andre Aamodt, Norway
3. Lasse Kjus, Norway
World Cup Standings (23 races)
1. Miller, 858 points
2. Stephan Eberharter, Austria, 815
3. Aamodt, 672
4. Andreas Schifferer, Austria, 437
5. Didier Defago, Switzerland, 426
9. Daron Rahlves, Sugar Bowl, CA, 386
37. Schlopy, 165
40. Sullivan, 136
44. Knight, 111
77. Jake Fiala, Frisco, CO, 41
80T. Rothhrock, 39
86. Macartney, 32
96T. Thomas Vonn, Newburgh, NY, 24
125T. Dane Spencer, Boise, ID, 9
Men’s Slalom (5 races)
1. Kostelic, 378
2. Rainer Schoenfelder, Austria, 234
3. Manfred Pranger, Austria, 193
4. Rocca, 193
5. Buraas, 187
10. Knight, 111
11. Miller, 104
22. Schlopy 57
26T. Rothrock, 39