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Wengen, Switzerland, Jan. 16–A newly confident Sacha Gros (Vail, CO),who picked off the first top-20 of his World Cup career beforeChristmas, ignored intermittent fog and nailed the second run of slalomSunday – skiing more than eight-tenths of a second ahead of everyone -to finish 10th behind Norwegian Kjetil-Andre Aamodt.
Aamodt became only the fourth man to win in every World Cup event -slalom, GS, super G, downhill and combined – as he joined PirminZurbriggen, Marc Girardelli and Guenther Mader with a time of 1:44.87.Teammate Ole-Kristian Furuseth took second place in 1:45.39 andSlovenian Drago Grubelnik was third (1:45.48). Aamodt won the SL goldmedal at the 1993 World Championships, but never had won a World Cupslalom; a week earlier, he had led the first run of a slalom inChamonix, only to slip back on the second run as he skied conservativelyto protect his time in the combined calculation, which he eventuallywon; Angelo Weiss of Italy won that SL.
Gros, 29th in the first run and the lone U.S. skier to crack thetop-30, crackled through a near-perfect second run for a total time of1:45.91. His time of 52.69 was well in front of Sergio Bergamelli ofItaly, who had the second-fastest second run at 53.52.
“It was awesome…a lot of fun,” Gros said. “My first run was a littledisappointing, so I wanted to put it down in the second run. I’d barelyqualified – 29th – and I knew I could do better than that.
“Yeah, it was definitely foggy up there. I don’t remember what thefirst run was like, but in the final run, it was coming in and out.You could see five gates pretty well but you couldn’t see the snow. Youhad to trust your feet.
“My second run I didn’t have anything to lose. If I was 28th or 29thwouldn’t help; I didn’t want just two or three points. I needed a lot ofpoints. And if you go out, well that’s part of it.”
Gros, who will run a couple of Europa Cup gate race this week in Italybefore heading to Kitzbuehel, Austria, for the four-race (DH/SG/SL pluscombined) Hahnenkamm weekend, said the course “chattered up a little bitbut on the second run I ran second and it was smooth. You can take apretty straight line. It’s a really nice course, probably one of thenicest on the World Cup.”
U.S. Coach Jesse Hunt said, “He took advantage of the opportunity. Hisrun was almost flawless. He’s skiing with so much confidence now.”
He added, “Sacha was tired of being close. He’s fired-up.”
In addition to the fog, Hunt said the hard snow required continualraking from course workers. “It was great, though – there are some bignumbers i.e., late starters with high-numbered bibs in there. It was agreat opportunity and Sacha nailed it.”
In Kitzbuehel, the men will race the fabled Hahnenkamm as well as asuper G and slalom with the DH and slalom twinned into a combinedcalculation.
CAFE de COLOMBIA ALPINE WORLD CUPWengen, SUI – Jan. 16Men’s SL1. Kjetil-Andre Aamodt, Norway, 1:44.872. Ole-Kristian Furuseth, Norway, 1:45.393. Drago Grubelnik, Slovenia, 1:45.484. Matjaz Vhrovnik, Slovenia, 1:45.675. Andrzej Bachleda, Poland, 1:45.756. Rainer Schoenenfelder, Austria, 1:45.777. Angelo Weiss, Italy, 1:45.858. Sergio Bergamelli, Italy, 1:45.869. Jure Kosir, Slovenia, 1:45.8710. Sacha Gros, Vail, Colo., 1:45.9111. Mitja Kunc, Slovenia, 1:45.9212. Hans-Petter Buraas, Norway, 1:46.0513. Urs Imboden, Switzerland, 1:46.9114. Michael Walchhofer, Austria, 1:46.9215. Markus Eberle, Germany, 1:47.0016. Finn-Christian Jagge, Norway, 1:47.1817. Mika Marila, Finland, 1:47.2318. Gaku Hirasawa, Japan, 1:47.5619. Paul Accola, Switzerland, 1:47.6420. Markus Ganahl, Liechtenstein, 1:47.6921. Michael Von Gruenigen, Switzerland, 1:47.7922. Kilian Albrecht, Austria, 1:47.8523. Johan Brolenius, Sweden, 1:47.9324. Sebastien Amiez, France, 1:48.0825. Thomas Stangassinger, Austria, 1:48.3026. Uros Pavlovcic, 1:48.61 -DNF: Bode Miller, Franconia, N.H.; Erik Schlopy, Park City, Utah; DrewThorne-Thomsen, Stratton Mountain, Vt. –Cafe de Colombia Alpinne World CupMen’s Overall (18 races)1. Hermann Maier – 1,100 points2. Aamodt, 7463. Stefan Eberharter, Austria, 6064. Josef Strobl, Austria, 5305. Andreas Schifferer, Austria, 5126. Kristian Ghedina, Italy, 4417. Benjamin Raich, Austria, 2418. Christian Mayer, Austria, 3119. Fritz Strobl, Austria, 29610. Hans Knauss, Austria, 28611. Didier Cuche, Switzerland, 28112. Werner France, Austria, 26313. Von Gruenigen, 26314. Fredrik Nyberg, Sweden, 25715. Hannes Trinkl, Austria, 254 -42. Daron Rahlves, Truckee, Calif., 8157. Chad Fleischer, Vail, Colo., 5165. Miller, 4267. Gros, 4190. Thomas Vonn, Newburgh, N.Y., 2195. Chris Puckett, Boulder, Colo., 15101. Dane Spencer, Boise, Idaho, 12105. Schlopy, 10114. Casey Puckett, Crested Butte, Colo., 6 –Men’s Slalom (5 races)1. Aamodt, 2942. Stangassinger, 2423. Vhrovnik, 2164. Didier Plaschy, Switzerland, 2005. Raich, 1926. Weiss, 1727. Furuseth, 1568. (tie) Schoenenfelder and Kosir, 133 each10. Jagge, 126 -30. Gross, 41