Mario Matt wins Finals slalom as Benni Raich is awarded discipline titleTweet
Mario Matt wins Finals slalom as Benni Raich is awarded discipline titleMario Matt of Austria won the final slalom of the World Cup season today at Lenzerheide, Switzerland. It was the very last men’s race on the calendar, leaving Benjamin Raich the winner of the slalom discipline title. Raich finished fourth in this race.
It is Raich’s second slalom title (he won in 2001 as well), and his second of these Finals (he won the GS globe yesterday). This time, Raich was able to clinch the title two weeks ago in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, where he he finished third. That result demonstrated Raich’s uncanny ability to do just barely enough; in finishing third, Raich went 106 points up on Manfred Pranger, clinching the discipline title win because even if he fell at Lenzerheide, no one else could surpass him in the standings, even if Pranger took the win (which counts for 100 points).
Bode Miller got a standing ovation after finishing the second run and finishing sixth. A day after clinching the overall World Cup, Miller can now claim to have gone two for nine in slaloms this season. He managed to finish at the night-race in Sestriere, and win, setting a record for the shortest period of time any skier has won in four disciplines (16 days).
Meanwhile Raich — known in some circles as “the Anti-Bode” — was incredibly consistent. From Kranjska Gora last season to Kranjska Gora this season, Raich has finished every World Cup slalom he entered in the top 10.
Why the season ended this way…
In a sign of just how competitive this discipline is, Giorgio Rocca of Italy did not win the title. Rocca won three races (Flachau, Chamonix and Kranjska Gora). He was also second at Beaver Creek. But Rocca, a quiet slalom specialist from Livigno, skied out or crashed in three races, and so was no match for the steady consistency of Raich, who never finished below eighth in a race.
Rocca blew out in today’s slalom, but hiked to complete the course. He performed a sliding 360 across the finish line, but caught an edge just as he completed the spin and went down hard before an estimated 5,000 fans.
Miller’s abysmal slalom record this season reminds many of his hapless early efforts on the World Cup (like 1998 and 1999). This year, he explained his high DNF rate as a result of his busy World Cup schedule, which does not allow for much slalom training. In late February, he said he’d worked out the canting and binding-placement issues which were causing him trouble, but he still skied out at Kranjska Gora two weeks ago.
Last year’s slalom title winner, Rainer Schoenfelder of Austria, still has an asterisk beside his name in the minds of many fans because his season-end lead over Kalle Palander of Finland was due in part, many believe, to politics (Schoenfelder won 80 points at the Park City slalom that year because of a controversial jury decision).
In the middle of the season, some wondered if this year’s slalom title would suffer the same kind of what-if speculation after problems with the timing system at the Schladming night slalom came to light. But the results were later approved up by a three-member commission appointed by the FIS to review the relevant materials. That case has now been sent to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, in Lausanne, for review, says a representative of the Italian team.
In the last ten years, the slalom title has gone to a diversity of nations. Alberto Tomba of Italy won it 1995, followed by Sebastian Amiez of France in 1996, Thomas Sykora of Austria in (1997 and 1998), Thomas Stangassinger of Austria (1999), Kjetil Andre Aamodt of Norway(2000), Benni Raich of Austria (2001), Ivica Kostelic of Croatia (2002), Kalle Palander of Finland (2003) and Rainer Schoenfelder of Austria (2004).
Click on these links to see results from each of this year’s World Cup slaom:
Beaver Creek, USA (winner: Benjamin Raich, AUT)
Sestriere, ITA (winner: Bode Miller, USA)
Flachau, AUT) (winner: Giorgio Rocca, ITA)
Chamonix, FRA (winner: Giorgio Rocca, ITA)
Wengen, SUI (winner: Alois Vogl, GER)
Kitzbuehel, AUT (winner: Manfred Pranger, AUT)
Schladming, AUT (winner: Manfred Pranger, AUT)
Kranjska Gora, SLO (winner: Giorgio Rocca, ITA)
Lenzerheide, SUI (winner:Mario Matt, AUT)
World Cup Finals
March 13, 2005
1. Mario Matt, AUT 1:22.81
2. Alois Vogl, GER 1:23.54
3. Rainer Schoenfelder, AUT 1:23.55
4. Benjamin Raich, AUT 1:23.59
5. Manfred Moelgg, ITA 1:23.62
6. Bode Miller, USA 1:23.66
7. Jean-Pierre Vidal, FRA 1:23.98
8. Andre Myhrer, SWE 1:24.08
9. Kalle Palander, FIN 1:24.29
10. Ivica Kostelic, CRO 1:24.41
11. Patrick Thaler, ITA 1:24.52
12. Akira Sasaki, JPN 1:25.15
13. Michael Janyk, CAN 1:25.53
14. Gian Bergamelli, ITA 1:26.18
15. Giorgio Rocca, ITA 1:33.58
other North Americans:
DNF 2nd: Thomas Grandi, CAN; Ted Ligety USA.
By Hank McKee
Men’s slalom, Lenzerheide, March 13, 2005 Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Matt, Fischer/Nordica/Fischer
2 Vogl, Volkl/Lange/Salomon
3 Schoenfelder, Fischer/Nordica/Fischer
4 Raich, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
5 Moelgg, Fischer/Lange/Look
6 Miller, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
7 Vidal, Dynastar/Lange/Look
8 Myhrer, Nordica//
9 Palander, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
10 Kostelic, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
It is the final race of the men’s 37 event 2005 World Cup schedule and the final of 9 slaloms. … Winning margin is .73. … Top 6 racers are within a second.
It is the fifth career win for Mario Matt. … All in slalom. … it is his first since 11/26/2001. … He badly fractured his shoulder 1/20/2002 and re-injured it 9/26/02 in training, missing the bulk of both the 2002 and 2003
seasons. … He has one other podium this season, a 2nd at Kitzbuehel. … Each of his five completed slaloms this season has been a top 10 result.
It is the third career podium for Alois Vogl. … All in slalom. … It is his third slalom podium of the season after a win at Wengen and a 3rd at Flachau. … Prior to this season his best placing had been 5th in GS at Adelboden 1/16/96.
It is the 16th career podium for Rainer Schoenfelder. … All in slalom. … It is his third Cup podium of the season. … He also won the silver medal in slalom at the World Championships. … He did not add to his win total of five this season.
It is the 22nd top six of the season for Bode Miller. … His second slalom finish of the season. … It is the third best score of the season for Michael Janyk.
Final overall standings have Bode Miller 1648; Benjamin Raich 1454; Hermann Maier 1295; Michael Walchhofer 1012; Daron Rahlves 984. Thomas Grandi is 12th at 500. … Raich wins the slalom title 552-408 over Rainer Schoenfelder. Giorgio Rocca is third at 406 and Manfred Pranger fourth at 396. … Miller is the top American in 15th at 140. … Grandi is the top Canadian in 16th at 134. … Michael Janyk is 17th at 113. … Austrian men win the Nations Cup 8497-3175 over the U.S. … Italy is third at 3026. … Canada is sixth at 1433.