Bode Miller crashes out in Kranjska Gora slalom; Raich gaining


Bode Miller crashes out in Kranjska Gora slalom; Raich gainingKRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia – Italy’s Giorgio Rocca won a World Cup slalom Sunday in which Bode Miller crashed out of yet another race to further diminish his lead in the overall standings. Miller lost a ski in the previous day’s giant slalom.

Austria’s Benjamin Raich, Miller’s main rival, was third, and is now just 31 points behind the American.

Rocca charged masterfully on the lower section of the course to finish in 1 minute, 34.95 seconds. Sweden’s Andre Myhrer was a surprising second, 0.21 seconds behind and Raich was 0.25 seconds back.

“It’s fantastico,” said Rocca, who was third after the opening leg.

Rocca said there was little pressure on him because he is not in the running for any season-ending championships and “did not have other objectives or priorities like some others have.”

The top American was Ted Ligety in 10th place. Finland’s Kalle Palander missed a good chance for his first title of the season, leading after the first leg but finishing 12th.

Miller made another woeful showing in the slalom, straddling a gate at the top of the hill. It was the eighth slalom he had failed to finish this season, including one at this month’s world championships. He was 14th after the opening leg.

“I had a bad weekend,” said Miller, who also slid off the course in the giant slalom Saturday. “I didn’t score a point, but my confidence is not dented. I still have the speed races.”

Raich and Miller are easily the two best skiers on the circuit this year, and both had a win apiece in the slalom entering the race.

Miller last won in mid-December at Sestriere, Italy, and crashed out of the seven other races. Raich had never failed to finish a race all season. He also had three top-three finishes as well as a victory.

Raich, who turns 27 Monday, said he slowed after Miller’s run to make sure of securing valuable points.

“I did take some speed off and that’s why I finished where I did,” Raich said. “I went safe, but I was also still fast.”

Miller has 1,253 points and held a 191-point lead on Raich entering this weekend. But Raich collected 160 to move well within reach of the American’s lead.

Miller must rediscover his form from early in the season in the upcoming speed races if he is to become the first American to win the overall title in 22 years. Phil Mahre, the only American to have won it, claimed the overall title in three consecutive years from 1981.

“Bode is good in the speed events and he is stronger than me now, but if you give me a chance I will catch it,” Raich said.

“You cannot think about the big picture while you’re skiing,” he added. “I don’t think about it. I don’t think beyond a race.”

World Cup

Men’s Slalom
Kranjska Gora, Slovenia
Feb. 27, 2005

1. Giorgio Rocca, ITA 1:34.95
2. Andre Myhrer, SWE 1:35.16
3. Benjamin Raich, AUT 1:35.20
4. Rainer Schoenfelder, AUT 1:35.71
5. Markus Larsson, SWE 1:35.75
6. Michael Janyk, CAN 1:35.83
7. Kentaro Minagawa, JPN 1:35.88
8. Patrick Thaler, ITA 1:35.90
9. Manfred Moelgg, ITA 1:36.02
10. Ted Ligety, USA 1:35.06
11. Giancarlo Bergamelli, ITA 1:36.18
12. Kalle Palander, FIN 1:36.19
13. Mitja Dragsic, SLO 1:36.22
14. Manfred Pranger, AUT 1:36.24
15. Ivica Kostelic, CRO 1:36.37
16. Jean-Pierre Vidal, FRA 1:36.46
17. Martin Hansson, SWE 1:36.51
17. Martin Marinac, AUT 1:36.51
17. Kilian Albrecht, AUT 1:35.51
20. Aksel Lund Svindal, NOR 1:36.61
21. Mitja Valencic, SLO 1:36.80
22. Drago Grubelnik, SLO 1:37.10
23. Pierrick Bourgeat, FRA 1:37.19
24. Hannes Paul Schmid, ITA 1:37.21
24. Thomas Grandi, CAN 1:37.21
other North Americans:
DNF 2nd: Bode Miller, Tom Rothrock, USA.
DNQ 2nd: Paul Stutz, Nick Zoricic, CAN, James Cochran, Jesse Marshall, USA.
DNF 1st: Patrick Biggs, Ryan Semple, CAN; Chip Knight, Erik Schlopy, Paul McDonald, USA.

THE SCOOP

By Hank McKee

equipment
Men’s slalom, Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, Feb. 27, 2005
Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Rocca, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Myhrer, Nordica//
3 Raich, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4 Schoenfelder, Fischer/Nordica/Fischer
5 Larsson, Fischer/Nordica/Fischer
6 Janyk, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
7 Minagawa, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
8 Thaler, Fischer/Lange/Tyrolia
9 Moelgg, Fischer/Lange/Look
10 Ligety, Volkl/Nordica/Marker

It is the 31st race of the men’s 35 race, two combined original schedule. … one combined has been canceled. … It is the eighth of nine scheduled slaloms. … The winning margin is .21 of second. … The top eight skiers are within the same second. … It is the 30th World Cup slalom held at Kranjska Gora.

It is the sixth career win for Giorgio Rocca. … All in slalom. … It is his third win of the season. … He is the fourth Italian to win at Kranjska Gora after Sergio Bergamelli, Patrick Holzer and five time winner Alberto Tomba.

It is the second career podium for Andre Myhrer and his second of the season. … He has just seven World Cup scoring results…. All of them this season. … It is the first time the Swedes have had two men in the top 5 of a World Cup since Tomas Fogdoe and Mats Ericson finished 1-4 in slalom at Kranjska Gora 12/19/1992.

It is the 45th career Cup podium for Benjamin Raich. … His ninth this season (plus three medals from World Championships – 4 counting team event). … It is his 6th career podium at Kranjska Gora. … And second in two days.

It is the best career result for Michael Janyk and his second top 10 in four scoring results ever. … He matches Thomas Grandi for best result at Kranjska Gora by a Canadian all time. … It is a career best placing for Ted Ligety. … Kranjska Gora is the first site Ligety has scored twice at. … It is the 13th scoring finish of the season for Thomas Grandi.

Bode Miller (2nd run DNF) maintains the lead in the World Cup overall standings 1253-1222 over Benjamin Raich. … Hermann Maier (did not race) is third at 958. … Daron Rahlves (did not race) is the next best ranked American in fifth at 691. …Thomas Grandi leads the Canadians in eighth at 476. … Raich leads the slalom standings 502-396 over Manfred Pranger (14th in race) and with one slalom remaining has cinched the slalom title. … It is his second having won the 2001 slalom title. … Grandi is the top North American on the slalom list in 13th with 342 points. … Miller is the top American in 19th place with 100. …
Austria leads the Nations Cup standing 12,223-5,326 for the U.S. and the men’s standings 7,239-2,695 over Italy with the U.S. third at 2462 (without today’s women’s result).

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