November 12, 2006
LEVI, FINLAND - (News Release) - Olympian Jimmy Cochran (Keene, NH) laid down the fifth-fastest second run Sunday to finish 15th as the 2007 World Cup season opened with a slalom north of the Arctic Circle.
World Championship Sports Network, which will provide video streaming of all World Cup races this season, will have coverage at http://www.wcsn.com/sport/index.jsp?id=34032 from 2-5 p.m. ET. Live timing on all races also is available at http://livetiming.usskiteam.com.
Olympic SL gold medalist and defending world champion, Benni Raich of Austria had the fastest time on both runs to collect his 24th win in 1:42.13. Swede Markuss Larsson was second in 1:42.75. Cochran, 28th in the first run, moved up 13 places with his second run for a total time of 1:44.08. Ted Ligety (Park City, UT), skiing with a brace on his right hand to protect a broken index finger, Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH) and Tom Rothrock (Cashmere, WA) failed to qualify for the second run.
"It was fun, and it's so good to get racing," Cochran said, referring to the delayed season opener after the traditional first race, a giant slalom Oct. 29 in Soelden, Austria, was canceled because of rain and warm weather. "It's not just good to get that first race out of the way; today, it was good just to get that first run over with. We've been waiting and waiting, so finally racing is great...and to start off with a good result is certainly a good feeling."
Noting that eight qualifiers came from outside the first 30 skiers, including five from beyond the first 50, Cochran said, "I don't know if it's a changing of the guard, or just the matter of a short course and a different venue, but a lot of young guys were getting in there today. It held up well...
"It's not the hardest hill we race, by any means, but it's a hill of extremes. It's really flat up top, then there's a breakover and it's steep for about 20 gates and then it's flat again to the finish. You've really got to pay attention. It doesn't flow much, but it's a cool hill," he said. "There are sharp contrasts - you're working on top, on the flat, and then it's steep and icy."
Coach Greg Needell said, "Tough day in some ways, great day in others. Jimmy had an excellent second run; it was his best run of World Cup slalom, no question, and he's clearly poised to have a great year in slalom. This isn't really his kind of hill because he's much better on pitches than the flat and there's a lot of flat here...but he's so in-balance and it's a great start for him. He saved the day for us.
"Bode just looked a little uncomfortable on his run and 'Rotty' gave away a lot of time on the flat up top...and Ted was attacking - he's always attacking. But he went out on a right-footed turn, on a fall-away on a roll, and not being able to pole-plant effectively - and not use it to recover, cost him. But he was going, as always. He went out and then got back in...but it chewed up a lot of time. Still, I thought he did a good job."
The men now return to Colorado for training prior to the next World Cup races, a downhill and super G Nov. 25-26 at Lake Louise, Alberta, followed by the annual VISA Birds of Prey races - downhill, the one-day super combined, GS and slalom Nov. 30-Dec. 3 at Beaver Creek, CO.
MEN'S ALPINE WORLD CUP
Levi, Finland - Nov. 12, 2006
> 1. Benjamin Raich, Austria, 1:42.13
> 2. Markus Larsson, Sweden, 1:42.75
> 3. Giorgio Rocca, Italy, 1:42.90
> 4. Stephane Tissot, France, 1:43.25
> 5. Rainer Schoenfelder, Austria, 1:43.45
> 15. Jimmy Cochran, Keene, NH, 1:44.08
Did not qualify for 2nd run: Ted Ligety, Park City, UT; Bode Miller, Bretton Woods, NH; Tom Rothrock, Cashmere, WA
For complete results: