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J-B Grange wins Levi slalom


GrangeBy Hank McKee
Apparently it was a good decision.
Last December French slalom star Jean-Baptiste Grange elected against toughing it out and going for the 2010 Olympics after damaging a ligament in his right knee in a no-fall event during the Beaver Creek giant slalom. He called his season instead and had corrective surgery. Today (Nov. 14) that paid off with a win in the first Men’s World Cup race of the season, a slalom at Levi, Finland. It was his second win at Levi. Last time he wound up winning the World Cup slalom title.

Swede Andre Myhrer was second, his sixth Cup slalom podium, and Croate Ivica Kostelic notched his 34th career Cup podium in third.

It was a good day for ski racing, cloudy but with Arctic light that hardly mattered anyway. No wind and temps below the freezing mark without bitterness. But snow conditions generally described as “grippy” played a significant role catching racers not yet necessarily completely comfortable familiar with their ski set-ups for the season.

The Levi Black course took a toll on the first run with 31 of 80 starters, including seven first seed racers, failing to finish.

“There was a lot going up there,” said U.S. technical coach Mike Day. “There’s a lot of terrain and it was a tough course set-up.”

First run casualties included two previous Levi winners, Benjamin Raich and Reinfried Herbst plus Austrian teammate Marcel Hirscher. Canadian Mike Janyk went down, American Bode Miller hiked after a hip plant and Nolan Kasper went down. Ted Ligety held on to make it to the second run, but well back in the pack. “He ran into the same trap as a majority if the guys going out there,” said Day. “He had a better second run, got a solid result and didn’t do any damage.”

The U.S. highlight was 23 year old Will Brandenburg – Ski Racing’s Jr of the Year 2007 – who stunned unsuspecting viewers when he charged to eighth place after the first run from the 35th start. He couldn’t complete the second run and failed to garner his first Cup points, but his speed was noteworthy.

“He didn’t get into any trouble at all,” said Day. “It was just an unfortunate straddle. He had a good line, was skiing solid. It’s what happens in slalom. He’s shown he’s got world class speed and will make himself into the 30 and 15 with good luck.”

The Canadians fared a bit better with Julien Cousineau taking up eighth in the final tally. Brad Spence finished 16th, two places ahead of Ligety, with Trevor White one spot behind Ligety in 19th. Patrick Biggs got in the points in 22nd place from the 45th start, giving Canada four scoring skiers.

Cousineau showed evidence of being pleased with his race, the third best of his career with the best two having come last season. He fired his index fingers like a gun in the finish area.

“I feel really good about this race,” he said. “I didn’t really know what to expect because we hadn’t skied with the other nations so far this year. … I’m happy because I started off exactly where I left off last season, so it’s a good start for me.”
Gepa photo

The SCOOP
By Hank McKee

Equipment
Men’s slalom, Levi, Finland, Nov. 14, 2010

Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Grange, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
2 Myhrer, Nordica/Nordica/
3 Kostelic, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
4 DeVille, Volkl/Tecnica/Marker
5 Pranger, Volkl/Tecnica/Marker
6 Zurbriggen, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
7 Moelgg, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
8 Cousineau, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
9 Gini, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
10 Lizeroux, Dynastar/Lange/Look

Men’s World Cup slalom, Levi, Finland, Nov. 14, 2010. … It is the first men’s race of the season after the cancelation of the GS at Soelden last month after the first run. … There were 38 races on the men’s 2010-11 schedule. … It is the first of ten men’s slaloms. … It is the 12th Cup race at Levi, all slaloms, and the fourth men’s race on the Levi Black course. … All three previous men’s winners (Benjamin Raich 11/12/06, Jean-Baptiste Grange 11/16/08 and Reinfried Herbst 11/15/09) have gone on to win the slalom title the same season.

It is the seventh career World Cup win (6th in slalom) for Jean-Baptiste Grange, his first since Jan. 6, 2009 at Zagreb. … It is his second win at Levi having also won Nov. 16, 2008. … He called his 2010 season after sustaining right knee ligament damage at Beaver Creek in GS Dec. 6.

It is the sixth World Cup podium for Andre Myhrer, all in slalom. … It is his first podium at Levi his previous best at the site a sixth in 2008.

It is the 34th career World Cup podium for Ivica Kostelic. … his 26th in slalom and his second at Levi having been second last season.

It is the third best Cup result for Julien Cousineau’s career. … The two better both came in slalom last season, a fifth at Schladming and sixth at Garmisch. … It is the fourth best career Cup result for Brad Spence. … his best is 12th scored twice. … His first Cup score came in March 2009. … 18th matches Ted Ligety’s best previous result at Levi. … It is the fifth Cup scoring result – all in slalom – for Trevor White. … He has now scored twice at two sites, Levi and Kitzbuehel. … It is the 12th best of 15 scoring results for Patrick Biggs. … Canadian men put four into the points in three slaloms last season, at Kitzbuehel, Zagreb, and Alta Badia.

France leads the men’s Nations Cup rankings with 165pts over Sweden with 140 and Italy with 86. Canada sits fifth at 68. … The US is tenth with 13pts.

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time FIS Points
 1  7  192665 GRANGE Jean-Baptiste  1984  FRA   52.32  54.32  1:46.64  0.00
 2  15  501017 MYHRER Andre  1983  SWE   52.84  54.13  1:46.97  1.89
 3  3  380260 KOSTELIC Ivica  1979  CRO   53.09  54.52  1:47.61  5.55
 4  27  291145 DEVILLE Cristian  1981  ITA   52.76  55.13  1:47.89  7.15
 5  10  50624 PRANGER Manfred  1978  AUT   52.82  55.17  1:47.99  7.72
 6  4  510890 ZURBRIGGEN Silvan  1981  SUI   52.91  55.20  1:48.11  8.41
 7  13  292491 MOELGG Manfred  1982  ITA   53.19  55.15  1:48.34  9.72
 8  14  102239 COUSINEAU Julien  1981  CAN   53.43  54.93  1:48.36  9.84
 9  23  511127 GINI Marc  1984  SUI   53.88  54.90  1:48.78  12.24
 10  1  191459 LIZEROUX Julien  1979  FRA   53.55  55.30  1:48.85  12.64
 11  9  501111 HARGIN Mattias  1985  SWE   53.40  55.62  1:49.02  13.61
 12  18  192506 MISSILLIER Steve  1984  FRA   53.96  55.16  1:49.12  14.19
 13  40  150398 BANK Ondrej  1980  CZE   54.09  55.04  1:49.13  14.24
 14  57  202462 DOPFER Fritz  1987  GER   54.39  54.81  1:49.20  14.64
 15  26  500656 LARSSON Markus  1979  SWE   53.93  55.28  1:49.21  14.70
 16  25  102912 SPENCE Brad  1984  CAN   53.86  55.71  1:49.57  16.76
 17  47  150594 TREJBAL Filip  1985  CZE   54.35  55.48  1:49.83  18.25
 18  16  534562 LIGETY Ted  1984  USA   54.44  55.45  1:49.89  18.59
 19  50  102922 WHITE Trevor  1984  CAN   54.65  55.30  1:49.95  18.93
 20  36  501101 BYGGMARK Jens  1985  SWE   54.26  55.72  1:49.98  19.11
 21  63  192504 MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas  1984  FRA   54.45  55.56  1:50.01  19.28
 22  45  102456 BIGGS Patrick  1982  CAN   54.28  55.77  1:50.05  19.51
 22  28  501116 LAHDENPERAE Anton  1985  SWE   54.59  55.46  1:50.05  19.51
 24  41  192943 OBERT Anthony  1985  FRA   54.54  55.52  1:50.06  19.56
 25  51  50931 BECHTER Patrick  1982  AUT   54.33  55.78  1:50.11  19.85
 26  17  560355 VALENCIC Mitja  1978  SLO   54.42  55.75  1:50.17  20.19
 27  30  50981 HOERL Wolfgang  1983  AUT   54.36  56.41  1:50.77  23.62
 28  55  421669 HAUGEN Leif Kristian  1987  NOR   54.38  1:13.42  2:07.80  121.04
Disqualified 1st run
   39  180251 PALANDER Kalle  1977  FIN         
Did not qualify 1st run
   80  151024 KOTZMANN Adam  1993  CZE         
   79  180703 PALONIEMI Santeri  1993  FIN         
   77  90131 GEORGIEV Georgi  1987  BUL         
   70  480736 KHOROSHILOV Alexander  1984  RUS         
   66  380292 ZRNCIC-DIM Natko  1986  CRO         
   62  560371 DRAGSIC Mitja  1979  SLO         
   60  930105 GRANSTROM Colby  1990  USA         
   52  511896 MURISIER Justin  1992  SUI         
   49  293797 GROSS Stefano  1986  ITA         
   46  290732 THALER Patrick  1978  ITA         
   42  51395 DIGRUBER Marc  1988  AUT         
   38  102727 STUTZ Paul  1983  CAN         
   37  561148 SKUBE Matic  1988  SLO         
   33  421483 JANSRUD Kjetil  1985  NOR         
   31  560425 VAJDIC Bernard  1980  SLO         
   29  50707 MATT Mario  1979  AUT         
   20  910000 IMBODEN Urs  1975  MDA         
   19  421400 MYHRE Lars Elton  1984  NOR         
   2  201702 NEUREUTHER Felix  1984  GER         
Did not finish 2nd run
   35  530165 BRANDENBURG Will  1987  USA         
   22  301312 SASAKI Akira  1981  JPN         
Did not finish 1st run
   78  180567 RASANEN Joonas  1989  FIN         
   76  180570 ROMAR Andreas  1989  FIN         
   75  561117 KUERNER Miha  1987  SLO         
   74  180534 SANDELL Marcus  1987  FIN         
   73  501401 SAXVALL Per  1989  SWE         
   72  534959 JITLOFF Tim  1985  USA         
   71  102403 SEMPLE Ryan  1982  CAN         
   69  700830 ZAMPA Adam  1990  SVK         
   68  220083 BAXTER Noel  1981  GBR         
   67  990048 BORSOTTI Giovanni  1990  ITA         
   65  180627 MALMSTROM Victor  1991  FIN         
   64  380290 SAMSAL Dalibor  1985  CRO         
   61  500909 ANDERSSON Oscar  1982  SWE         
   59  193967 MUFFAT JEANDET Victor  1989  FRA         
   58  150495 VRABLIK Martin  1982  CZE         
   56  194364 PINTURAULT Alexis  1991  FRA         
   54  532138 KASPER Nolan  1989  USA         
   53  250127 BJORGVINSSON Bjorgvin  1980  ISL         
   48  291318 TONETTI Riccardo  1989  ITA         
   44  193347 TISSOT Maxime  1986  FRA         
   43  511174 VOGEL Markus  1984  SUI         
   34  50824 DREIER Christoph  1981  AUT         
   32  532431 MILLER Bode  1977  USA         
   24  301709 YUASA Naoki  1983  JPN         
   21  501223 BAECK Axel  1987  SWE         
   12  293098 RAZZOLI Giuliano  1984  ITA         
   11  53831 HIRSCHER Marcel  1989  AUT         
   8  102435 JANYK Michael  1982  CAN         
   6  50605 HERBST Reinfried  1978  AUT         
   5  50625 RAICH Benjamin  1978  AUT         

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