Mayer Shuts U.S. Men Out


Saalbach, Austria, Dec. 22--Christian Mayer overtook teammate Benjamin Raich on the second run Wednesday to lead an Austrian sweep of the top three spots in a World Cup giant slalom while the U.S. men were shut-out.

"We've had a good month, but we skied bad today. We're heading home for Christmas with a rotten taste in our mouths," said U.S.Head Coach Bill Egan. "I'm disappointed in the way they skied, and so are the guys. We didn't have one today."

Mayer - who said finishing fourth Tuesday in a slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, gave him a confidence boost after bungling the first-run lead two days earlier in a GS in Alta Badia, Italy - won the fifth World Cup of his career in 2:25.83. Hermann Maier, fastest on the second run, was second in 2:26.13 and Raich finished in 2:26.15.

The race was postponed from Dec. 5 in Val d'Isere, France, is the first stop at five Austrian resorts on the World Cup schedule.

Dane Spencer (Boise, ID) had the best result for the U.S. men, finishing 31st - but he missed the top-30 cut by one-hundredth of a second. Thomas Vonn (Newburgh, NY) was 39th on the first run.

"Dane was very good on top on the steep section but he was too cautious on the bottom, just skied too round. The conditions also deteriorated and it was tough for anyone from the back to get in there, but we just didn't ski well, either," Egan said.