Palander Wins Slalom in Austria; Miller Fourth

Palander 1 25 04

KITZBUEHEL, Austria, Jan. 25 2004 (AP by Erica Bulman) -- Kalle Palander of Finland won a slalom Sunday and Thomas Grandi was second for the best result ever in a World Cup technical event by a Canadian man.

Palander, the defending World Cup slalom champion, covered the two runs on the Ganslernhang course in 1 minute, 30.63 seconds, giving him the lead in the slalom standings.

"It was a great victory because it is really tough here," Palander said. "Kitzbuehel is something like a home race for me because me and my coach have been spending so much time here."

Grandi finished 0.08 seconds behind and Rainer Schoenfelder of Austria was third in 1:31.69. Bode Miller made a strong second run to finish fourth. Another American, Tom Rothrock, was ninth.

This was Palander's third slalom victory this season. He also won the season-opener in Park City, Utah, as well as a slalom in Flachau this month.

"I had a bad result in Chamonix and so I needed this boost," said Palander, who finished 16th at the French resort this month before going off course in the opening run in Wengen last week

The best World Cup slalom result for Canadian men until now was by Scott Henderson, who was fourth during a 1967 race in the inaugural year of the World Cup in 1967.

The previous best in any technical event was also by Grandi, who placed third in a giant slalom in 1997 in Park City, Utah.

This marked the first time Grandi ever led after the first leg. He is better known for comebacks in the second run.

"I was not nervous at all this morning, but before my second run, I certainly was," Grandi said.

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