When bib three skied off course in the first run, the whole perspective of the men's World Cup slalom at Kranjska Gora, Slovenia changed. Without Marcel Hirscher in the picture the seasonal races for the overall and slalom standings changed dramatically and the number one starter on the day Andre Myhrer became a favorite to win his first World Cup race of the season. After the first run Swedes and Italians were definitely in control holding six of the top seven places and Myhrer comfortable with a half second lead.
Myhrer hung on to gain his first win of the season (third of career) out-charging Kitzbuehel slalom winner Cristian Deville to the finish for that same half second (.49) advantage. Rising French star Alexis Pinturault was third with the second fastest second run of the sun splashed Spring day.
The Americans had five men finish in the points, something that last happened in a World Cup slalom in 2006 at Adelboden. Will Brandenburg scored a career best sixth place finish, Ted Ligety was ninth, Nolan Kasper 16th and Jimmy Cochran 25th. Canada, too, had solid finishes from Mike Janyk (19th) and Brad Spence (26th), Janyk preserving a top 25 position and a slot at World Cup finals.
World Cup slalom leader Ivica Kostelic, in his first slalom since injuring his knee at Sochi Feb. 12 and surgery Feb. 13, either displayed strong tactics to be certain of a finish and any points in the absence of runner-up Hirscher, or showed his knee is insufficently recovered. He finished 16th on the day, by far his worst slalom finish of the season. That will takeby any decision about the slalom title to the final race of the season with him leading Hirscher by 50pts.
Hirscher exited about a third of the way down the first run. He was attacking in the style the World Cup has become accustomed to this season, skis close to the gates, when his right ski tip passed on the wrong side of the gate. Having been called out earlier this season for illegally continuing after straddles that were either barely perceptible or nonexistent, Hirscher abandoned the course and skied out.
"I was searching for this victory the whole season," said Myhrer, "... and somehow I had to wait until now to step to the top. ... I just tried to ski as fast as I could up top and then keep a good line in the lower section. It worked."
For Pinturault, who had also finished on the podium (2nd) in Saturday's GS and had to fight his way forward in the second run of the slalom after finishing 14th in the first heat. "It is a fantastic day for me, making such a huge jump forward was a bit surprising. I thought it might be good for a top 10. ... Now I am looking for a victory in Schladming."
US Coach Mike Day said we can expect more from Will Brandenburg. "That was super solid skiing. It's not even near his top gear and what he's capable of, but it is the type of step he absolutely needs to make."
"We Brandenburgs, we don't really have too much patience in our genes," Brandenburg said. "That was the first time I've been happy in the finish area of a World Cup. I've battled, I'm trying to take a more aggressive line. I'm learning and hopefully I can build off this and get closer to the podium."
Beat Feuz, who did not race, will enter World Cup Finals at Schladming, Austria with the lead for the overall World Cup crown as little changed at the top of the standings. He still leads Hirscher by 55pts and Kostelic, in third, gained just 15pts for his finish, giving him 186pts to make up against the Swiss Feuz. Aksel Lund Svindal, fourth in the overall standings 219pts back of Feuz, was another who did not test the Slovenian slalom.
Gepa images of Andre Myhrer and Will Brandenburg
by Hank McKee
Men's World Cup slalom, Kranjska Gora, SLovenia, March 11, 2012
1 Myhrer, Nordica/Nordica/
2 Deville, Volkl/Fischer/Marker
3 Pinturault, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
4 Gross, Volkl/Tecnica/Marker
5 Larsson, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
6 Brandenburg, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
7 Neureuther, Nordica/Nordica/
8 Valencic, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
9 Pranger, Volkl/Tecnica/Marker
9 Ligety, Head/Head/Marker
Men's World Cup slalom, Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, March 11, 2012. ... It is the final race before World Cup Finals begin at Schladming, Austria March 14. ... It is the 40th race of the men's 45 race 2012 World Cup schedule with one cancellation (Munich city event). ... It is the ninth of 10 scheduled slaloms and the second of a two race set for the men at Kranjska Gora... The fourth race held at the site this season and 76th World Cup at the site.
It is the third career World Cup win for Andre Myhrer. ... all in slalom. ... and his first of the season. ... His previous wins came at Zagreb Jan. 6, 2011 and Dec. 3, 2006. ... It is the first win for Sweden this season. ... It is the second podium result at Kranjska Gora for Myhrer, the last a second place finish in slalom Feb. 27, 2005.
It is the fourth career World Cup podium result for Cristian Deville. ... all coming this season. ... He has finished seven Cup slaloms this season in sixth place or better.
It is the sixth career World Cup podium result for Alexis Pinturault and his third scored at Kranjska Gora. ... It is his first career slalom podium. ... It is his fifth podium of the season and second in two days having placed second in GS on the same hill March 10.
North Americans: It is a career best finish for Will Brandenburg and fourth career World Cup score. ... His previous best had been 22nd in slalom at Adelboden Jan. 8. ... It is his second Cup score of the season. ... It is the 24th career slalom top 10 for Ted Ligety. ... his fourth at Kranjska Gora where he has also won four GS's. ... It is his sixth slalom score of the season and fourth in the top 10. ... It is the 13th career World Cup score for Nolan Kasper, all in slalom. ... It is his fifth best of seven scoring finishes this season. ... It is the 54th career Cup scoring finish for Michael Janyk. ... 52nd in slalom. ... It is his seventh score of the season all in slalom. ... It is the fifth best of five scoring results at Kranjska Gora for Jimmy Cochran. ... third best of four (all slalom) this season. ... It is the ninth score of the season for Brad Spence, all in slalom. ... and his second score at Kranjska Gora. ... The last time US men had four scoring finishes in a World Cup slalom was Jan. 8, 2006 at Adelboden (Ligety 2, Knight 17, Schlopy 24, Rothrock 26).
Standings: Beat Feuz (did not race) leads the overall World Cup standings 1250-1195 over Marcel Hirscher (DNF 1st). ... Ivica Kostelic (16th in race) is third with 1064pts. ... Aksel Lund Svindal (did not race) is fourth with 1031, Didier Cuche (did not race) fifth with 953 and Klaus Kroell (did not race) sixth with 873pts. ... No other skiers can win the overall title. ... Kostelic leads the slalom standings 610-560 over Hirscher with one race remaining. ... Myhrer is third with 544pts. ... No other skiers can win the slalom title. ... Austria leads the men's Nations Cup 6836-4089 over Switzerland with Italy third at 3521. ... The US is fifth with 2069 and Canada seventh with 1601pts.
Kranjska Gora (SLO)
FIS World Cup
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||FIS Points|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|48||193967||MUFFAT JEANDET Victor||1989||FRA|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|66||30149||SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier||1980||ARG|
|44||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA|
|29||421400||MYHRE Lars Elton||1984||NOR|