Manfred Pranger wins Schladming; Timing errors call race into question


Manfred Pranger wins Schladming; Timing errors call race into questionManfred Pranger of Austria has won the Schladming night slalom, one of the most important alpine World Cups of the season, but questions are being raised about the integrity of the race’s timing system. The Italian ski federation has filed an appeal of the race results, and the FIS has confiscated material related to timing.

“They found out that the timing of the first run was not correct for two racers,” said Peter Schroecksnadel, the president of the Austrian ski federation, which hosts the race.

The second run was delayed as the race jury reviewed video from the first run. This showed that times were stopping before athletes reached the finish line. Two of these athletes were Giorgio Rocca of Italy and Manfred Pranger of Austria.

“We had to delay the second run because there were times on the first run to be checked,” said Gunther Hujara, the race director of the FIS World Cup. “We found that two times had an incorrect impulse before the finish line…There is a backup system.”

The jury went to the backup systems and found a new set of times, presented it to the concerned teams, Italy and Austria. Italy posted a protest, but the jury decided to accept the corrected times and run the race for the 42,000 fans and 30 racers who were waiting for the second run.

During the delay Bode Miller was interviewed by ORF, the Austrian broadcaster, and told television viewers that only two elements were necessary in ski racing: gates and timing.

Timekeeping and data processing have been an ongoing problem in World Cup alpine ski racing this year. Austria signed a two-year contract with Siemens in which the German company would provide timing for 400,000 euros in exchange for associated advertising at Austrian events. In December, Swatch withdrew support for World Cup racing when they discovered that the FIS could not deliver a global contract that included Austria.

This happened despite a November 12 meeting of the FIS Council, after which the FIS announced that Swatch was now the official timing and data provider.

Now Italy is appealing the race. “Swatch timing was so good, and the Austrian federation got rid of Swiss timing,” says the Italian team’s manager, Adriano Iliffe. “They get these guys from Siemens in, and since then there’s been problems. Flachau there was problems, and here were problems.”

After the race, a representative of Alge, the timing company that is working this race in a joint venture with Siemens, appeared in the press room to speak with a dozen reporters. With Schroecksnadel at his side the representative, Albert Vetter, said that a thrown snowball is one possible explanation for the timing glitch. Schroecksnadel made pains to point out that it was Austrian coaches who alerted the jury to the problems.

Phil McNichol, the head coach of the men’s squad of the U.S. Ski Team, expressed shock and dismay that coaches were standing on the side of the course without any information as the second run was about to begin.

“The Austrian federation is sitting in with the jury going over the times, and I don’t even know what’s going on,” said Phil McNichol, the head coach of the U.S. Ski Team. “I had people calling me, watching on television, asking what’s going on, and I don’t even know…No information to the coaches. Just run the race. This is nuts.”

World Cup

Men’s Slalom (night)
Schladming, Austria
Jan. 25, 2005

1. Manfred Pranger, AUT 1:47.13
2. Benjamin Raich, AUT 1:47.17
3. Andre Myhrer, SWE 1:47.37
4. Rainer Schoenfelder, AUT 1:47.44
5. Jean-Pierre Vidal, FRA 1:47.57
6. Johan Brolenius, SWE 1:47.64
7. Manfred Moelgg, ITA 1:47.79
8. Thomas Grandi, CAN 1:47.81
9. Michael Janyk, CAN 1:47.83
10. Kilian Albrecht, AUT 1:48.15
11. Jean-Philippe Roy, CAN 1:48.25
12. Pierrick Bourgeat, FRA 1:48.38
13. Truls Ove Karlsen, NOR 1:48.42
14. Kentaro Minagawa, JPN 1:48.53
15. Jure Kosir, SLO 1:48.55
16. Reinfried Herbst, AUT 1:48.74
17. Patrick Biggs, CAN 1:49.00
18. Chip Knight, USA 1:49.05
19. Jukka Leino, FIN 1:49.55
20. Silvan Zurbriggen, SUI 1:49.59
21. Giorgio Rocca, ITA 1:49.74
22. Ted Ligety, USA 1:54.25
23. Akira Sasaki, JPN 2:04.05
other North Americans:
DNF 1st: Tom Rothrock, Jame Cochran, Erik Schlopy, Paul McDonald, USA.
DNF 2nd: Bode Miller, USA
DNQ 2nd: Ryan Semple, CAN; Jesse Marshall, USA.

THE SCOOP

By Hank McKee

equipment
Men’s slalom, Schladming, Austria, Jan. 25, 2005
Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Maier, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Raich, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
3 Myhrer, Nordica//
4 Schoenfelder, Fischer/Nordica/Fischer
5 Vidal, Dynastar/Lange/Look
6 Brolenius, Head/Nordica/Tyrolia
7 Moelgg, Fischer/Lange/Look
8 Grandi, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
9 Janyk, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
10 Albrecht, Head/Nordica/Tyrolia

Schladming, Austria, night slalom, Jan. 25, 2005. … It is the 23rd race of the 35 race, 2 combined men’s World Cup schedule. … One combined has been held (Wengen) and the cancelled Kitzbuehel combined will not be made up. … It is the 19th consecutive Schladming night slalom. … An estimated 45,000 fans attended the stadium. … It is the seventh of nine scheduled men’s slaloms. … Winning margin is less than a tenth. … Top nine skiers are within the same second. … The race was controversial due to a timing mishap.
It is Manfred Pranger’s second career World Cup win. … It is his second of the season. … It is his second in three days having also won the Kitzbuehel slalom 1/23. … He has scored in all seven slaloms this season with one finish outside the top 10.
It is the 43rd career podium for Benjamin Raich. … His 22nd in slalom. … It is his eighth podium this season. … and fourth in slalom. … He has scored in all seven slaloms with a worst placing of eighth. … Raich has been first or second in the five Schladming slaloms he has completed. …
It is the first career podium for Andre Myhrer. … He has six career scoring finishes… four this season. … Three of his six scoring results have come in night slaloms. … Schladming is the first venue he has scored twice at.
It is the 22nd time Thomas Grandi has completed a race in the top 10. … Five have come this season. … It is his best result at Schladming of four scoring finishes. … Only Betsy Clifford and Judy Crawford have scored more slalom top 10′s for Canada than the 11 Grandi has. … It is the third career scoring result for Michael Janyk. … His first top 10. … All three results have come this season, the first two in December. … It is the fourth best career result for Jean-Philippe Roy. … The Canadians have not had three top 15 finishers in a slalom since Kathy and Laurie Kreiner and Judy Crawford went 7-11-12 respectively at Mont Ste Ann3 3/3/1973. … Not among Canadian men since Scott Henderson, Ron Hebron and Bob Swan went 4-5-7 respectively at Franconia 3/12/67. …
It is the third scoring result of Patrick Biggs career. … all this season, all in slalom. … It is his first result outside the top 10. … The Canadians have not had four in top 20 of a slalom since Betsy Clifford, Judy Crawford, Diane Culver and Diana Gibson went 2-9-16-17 at Heavenly Valley 2/24/1971. … Canadian men have never before accomplished the feat. … It is the 22nfd career scoring result for Chip Knight. … The result matches his 10th best all time finish. … It is his best of three Schladming results. … It is his second and best result of the season. … It is the sixth career scoring result for Ted Ligety. … His fifth of the season.
Giorgio Rocca led the first run but missed a gate in the second. … He recovered to finish 21st.
Bode Miller (a second run DNF) maintains the overall lead 1093-998 for Benjamin Raich. … Daron Rahlves (did
not race) is the next best ranked American in fifth with 516pts. … Raich holds the slalom standings lead 442-378 over Manfred Pranger. … Miller is the top American on the slalom list in 17th with 100 pts from his win at Sestriere. … Austria leads the Nations Cup 9924-4653 for the U.S. … Austrian men lead 5805-2169 for Italy with the U.S. third at 2085 and the Swiss fourth at 1921.

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