Stephan Goergl wins Finals giant slalom as Benni Raich gets title


Stephan Goergl wins Finals giant slalom as Benni Raich gets titleStephan Goergl of Austria won the final giant slalom of the season today in Lenzerheide, beating Bode Miller by 0.68 seconds.

“It was one of my goals this season to win a giant slalom because it’s such a difficult event,” Goergl said. “To win the final giant slalom of the season gives me even more motivation to become a true all-round skier.”

Benjamin Raich of Austria may have lost the overall to Bode Miller on Saturday, but he skied tenaciously enough to finish third in the giant slalom race, the last of the season.

With that result, he took the World Cup giant slalom discipline title away from last year’s winner, Bode Miller. Raich has also clinched the slalom title.

Unlike the other disciplines where only two or three skiers were in contention for the title at this week’s World Cup Finals there were six skiers at the start today who had a mathematical chance at winning the giant slalom. Benjamin Raich came in with 363 points over Thomas Grandi’s 342. They were followed by Miller (340), Blardone (316), Maier (312) and Palander (266).

Last year’s title-winner, Bode Miller, finished second in the standings by just two World Cup points. He won two races early on in the season: the season opener at Soelden, and the Val d’Isere giant slalom (where he was awarded with his own weight in wine).

But it is hard to dispute that there was a bigger giant slalom sensation this year than Thomas Grandi (who finishes third in the standings), who became the first Canadian man to win a tech event, and did it in style, taking first on the notoriously difficult hill at Alta Badia , and following that up a few days later with a second win at Flachau . The success was cause for celebration in Canada.

He was just 0.37 seconds from the podium two weeks ago in Kranjska Gora , but finished sixth in that close race, won by Raich.

The giant slalom calendar was unique for its large gaps. Giant slalom specialists, for instance, only had one World Cup competition in the month of January at Adelboden. There, one such specialist Max Blardone of Italy rose to the occasion to win the race. ‘To me, that would be exhausting’ said Miller of Blardone, when Miller was asked if he thought if his own schedule (which had him competing in every single race on the calendar) was too tiring.

In the last ten years, the giant slalom title has gone to Alberto Tomba of Italy (1995), Michael von Gruenigen of Switzerland (1996, 1997, 1999 and 2003), Hermann Maier of Austria (1998, 2000 and 2001), Frederic Covili of France (2002) and Bode Miller of Franconia, New Hampshire (2004).

The men’s World Cup season comes to an end tomorrow, with the slalom. Benjamin Raich clinched the title two weeks ago in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia.

Click on these links to see results from each of this year’s World Cup giant slalom races:
Soelden, AUT (winner: Bode Miller, USA)
Beaver Creek, USA (winner: Lasse Kjus, NOR)
Val d’Isere, FRA (winner: Bode Miller, USA)
Alta Badia, ITA (winner: Thomas Grandi, CAN)
Flachau, AUT (winner: Thomas Grandi, CAN)
Adelboden, SUI (winner: Max Blardone, ITA)
Kranjska Gora, SLO (winner: Benni Raich, AUT)
Lenzerheide, SUI (winner: Stephan Goergl, AUT)

World Cup Finals

Men’s Giant Slalom
Lenzerheide, Switzerland
March 12, 2005

1. Stephan Goergl, AUT 2:10.51
2. Bode Miller, USA 2:11.19
3. Benjamin Raich, AUT 2:11.31
4. Hermann Maier, AUT 2:11.34
5. Fredrik Nyberg, SWE 2:11.82
6. Daron Rahlves, USA 2:11.96
7. Kalle Palander, FIN 2:12.11
8. Manfred Moelgg, ITA 2:12.24
9. Massimiliano Blardone, ITA 2:12.80
10. Ales Gorza, SLO 2:13.35
11. Thomas Grandi, CAN 2:13.37
12. Christoph Gruber, AUT 2:13.42
13. Joel Chenal, FRA 2:13.53
14. Erik Schlopy, USA 2:13.76
15. Michael Walchhofer, AUT 2:13.94
16. Marco Buechel, LIE 2:14.09
17. Mirko DeFlorian, ITA 2:14.20
18. Didier Defago, SUI 2:14.21
19. Rainer Schoenfelder, AUT 2:14.39
20. Fritz Strobl, AUT 2:14.55
21. Giorgio Rocca, ITA 2:14.81
22. Aksel Lund Svindal, NOR 2:16.19
other North Americans:
DNF 2nd: Dane Spencer, USA.

THE SCOOP

By Hank McKee

equipment
Men’s Giant Slalom, Lenzerheide, Switzerland, March 12, 2005

Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Goergl, Fischer/Lange/Fischer
2 Miller, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
3 Raich, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4 Maier, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
5 Nyberg, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
6 Rahlves, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
7 Palander, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
8 Moelgg, Fischer/Lange/Look
9 Blardone, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
10 Gorza, Atomic/Lange/Atomic

Men’s Giant Slalom, Lenzerheide, Switzerland, March 12, 2005. … It is the 35th event of the men’s 37 event World Cup schedule with one combined having been canceled. … One slalom remains. … It is the 9th of 9 scheduled GS’s.

It is the second career World Cup victory for Stephan Goergl and his second of the season. … His previous best GS result had been 5th at Beaver Creek early this season. … His win was in Super G, at Beaver Creek.

It is the 39th career World Cup podium for Bode Miller. … His 25th of the season (not counting two from the World Championships) … He finished 5 of the 8 GS’s held this season and was on the podium in all five.

It is the 46th career podium for Benjamin Raich. … His 11th of the season. … He finished all 8 GS’s this season and was on the podium in four.

It is the 18th time Daron Rahlves has scored in a GS in his career. … The last 4 held representing all of his top 10 finishes in the discipline. … It was the 14th time this season Thomas Grandi has finished among the top 13, including World Championships. … He finished every GS this season, winning two. … It was the eighth scoring result of the season for Erik Schlopy and his third best result.

Bode Miller cinches the World Cup overall title… his first. … with one race remaining he leads Benjamin Raich 1608-1404. … It is the first U.S. overall title since 1983 when both Phil Mahre and Tamara McKinney were crowned champions. … Daron Rahlves is currently fifth on the overall list with 984 points. … He cannot finish worse regardless of the outcome of the final race. … Benjamin Raich claims the GS title by 3 points over Miller 423-420. … It is his first GS title. … He w
on the slalom crown in 2001. … Thomas Grandi finishes third in GS with 366pts. … Rahlves is the next best North American on the final GS rankings in 12th with 178pts.

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