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Manfred Pranger wins Kitzbuehel slalom; Ted Ligety fastest second run

Manfred Pranger wins Kitzbuehel slalom; Ted Ligety fastest second runManfred Pranger, the slalom specialist from Austria known for his backseat agility and frightening pre-race routine, has won the Kitzbuehel slalom, one of the most difficult and well-attended races on the World Cup. It is the first victory for the racer who was making a habit of winning first runs and skiing out on the second runs.

“It’s unbelievable and I cannot describe it,” said Pranger, who shed a tear during the awards ceremony. “I had doubts, so it was really difficult for me. But it was absolutely fantastic when I crossed the line.”

Pranger works himself into a furious rage as he warms up for runs, gnashing his teeth and shouting at himself. As startling as it is to spectators, it is even more of a surprise to find how mild-mannered and friendly he is after the race.

Finishing right behind Pranger were Mario Matt of Austria and Ivica Kostelic of Croatia. It is the second podium in a row for Kostelic, whose latest surgery came just a year ago. He has had six operations on his right knee, and five on his left.

Matt, the 2001 world champion in slalom, has struggled in recent years to overcome a series of shoulder injuries. He switched to Fischer skis this past summer.

Blue skies return…
After a week of bad weather in Kitzbuehel, the sky was blue for the first run of the slalom. Hundreds of soldiers from the Austrian army had spent the previous night working to clear the fresh snow from the Gaslern course. They toiled in plain sight of revelers in the town below, who spent the night partying despite the fact that Saturday’s downhill was cancelled. Over 20,000 fans were on hand, according to the organizing committee.

Miller out, Ligety in…
Top American hope Bode Miller failed to qualify for the second run. He was almost to the finish when his feet got locked up underneath him and caused him to swerve off line.

Ted Ligety continued his breakout season on the World Cup, finishing 12th. Ligety tied Austria’s Benni Raich for the fastest second run time. The 2004 Sprint/Ski Racing Junior of the Year, Ligety has had two 15th-place finishes already this year in World Cup slaloms.

Tom Rothrock had an excellent first run, finishing seventh, but had to contend with a deteriorating course on the second run and was bumped back to 18th.

super G scheduled for Monday…
The Kitzbuehel ski club, which has hosted the annual Hahnenkamm race 65 times, was forced to cancel Friday’s super G and Saturday’s downhill because of stormy weather. The super G has been re-scheduled to start on Monday, despite some predictions of more snow on the way. Nevertheless, a start list has been created and servicemen are waxing speed skis. If the race, scheduled for 11:30, does occur, it will include Daron Rahlves of the United States, starting 28th — just one place behind Bode Miller. Other Americans on the start list are Jakub Fiala (5), Scott Macartney (33), Brad Spence (39), Dane Spencer (40), Justin Johnson (44), Steve Nyman (45) and Wade Bishop (50).

World Cup

Men’s Slalom
Kitzbuehel, Austria
Jan. 23, 2005

1. Manfred Pranger, AUT 1:31.51
2. Mario Matt, AUT 1:31.63
3. Ivica Kostelic, CRO 1:31.75
4. Rainer Schoenfelder, AUT 1:31.84
5. Thomas Grandi, CAN 1:32.16
6. Manfred Moelgg, ITA 1:32.42
7. Pierrick Bourgeat, FRA 1:32.50
8. Benjamin Raich, AUT 1:32.58
9. Markus Larsson, SWE 1:32.62
10. Alois Vogl, GER 1:32.66
11. Patrick Thaler, ITA 1:32.74
12. Ted Ligety, USA 1:32.80
13. Jean-Pierre Vidal, FRA 1:32.83
14. Kilian Albrecht, AUT 1:32.91
15. Kalle Palander, FIN 1:33.03
16. Kurt Engl, AUT 1:33.10
17. Martin Marinac, AUT 1:33.13
18. Tom Rothrock, USA 1:33.14
19. Andrej Sporn, SLO 1:33.17
20. Jure Kosir, SLO 1:33.54
21. Jukka Rajala, FIN 1:33.98
22. Ryan Semple, CAN 1:34.00
23. Cristian Deville, ITA 1:34.07
24. Mitja Valencic, SLO 1:34.44
other North Americans:
DNQ 2nd: Chip Knight, Bode Miller, Jesse Marshall, USA; Jean-Philippe
Roy, Patrick Biggs, CAN.
DNS 1st: Hubertus VonHohenlohe, MEX
DNF 1st: Erik Schlopy, James Cochran, Paul McDonald, USA; Michael
Janyk, CAN.

THE SCOOP

By Hank McKee
equipment
Men’s slalom, Kitzbuehel, Jan. 23, 2005

Skier, skis/boots/binding
1 Pranger, Volkl/Lange/Marker
2 Matt, Fischer/Nordica/Fischer
3 Kostelic, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
4 Schoenfelder, Fischer/Nordica/Fischer
5 Grandi, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
6 Moelgg, Fischer/Lange/Look
7 Bourgeat, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
8 Raich, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
9 Larsson, Fischer/Nordica/Fischer
10 Vogl, Volkl/Lange/Salomon

Men’s Slalom, Kitzbuehel, Austria, Jan. 23, 2005. … It is the 23rd of
35 scheduled men’s World Cup races, plus two scheduled combineds. …
It is the only race held of three scheduled for Kitzbuehel’s annual
Hahenkamm events. … It is the sixth of nine scheduled men’s slaloms. …
The winning margin is .12 of a second. … The top three are within .33
of a second. … The top seven within the same second.

It is the first career win for Manfred Pranger. … He has six career
podiums but this is the first of the season. …He is the first Austrian
to win a slalom at Kitzbuehel since Rainer Schoenfelder in 2002.

It is the 14th career podium for Mario Matt. … all in slalom. … It
is his first podium of the season. … Matt won the Kitzbuehel slalom
in 2000.

It is the 14th career podium for Ivica Kostelic. … all in slalom. …
It is his second podium of the season, the previous a 2nd at Wengen.
… He has just four scoring results this season, all in slalom.

It is the sixth career top five for Thomas Grandi. … The third this
season. … It is his first top five of the season in slalom. … It is
a career best placing for Ted Ligety and his fifth career scoring
result. … four of them this season. … It is the 12th top 20 result for
Tom Rothrock. … his third of the season. …It is the third career
scoring result for Ryan Semple. …all of them this season.

with nine races remaining Bode Miller (DNQ 2nd) holds the overall World
Cup standings lead 1048-822 over Benjamin Raich (8th). … Daron
Rahlves (did not race) is the next best ranked American in fifth with 436pts.
… Thomas Grandi is the top ranked Canadian in seventh with 397pts.
… With three slaloms remaining, Raich holds the slalom standings with
362pts over Giorgio Rocca (DNF 1st) with 280pts. … Manfred Pranger is
third at 278. … Bode Miller is the top American on the slalom list at
13th with 100pts. … He has completed one of the six slaloms so far
this season. … Austria leads the Nations Cup standings 9351-4488 for
USA. … And the men’s standings 5232-2081 for Italy with the U.S. third
at 1920 and the Swiss fourth at 1818.

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