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WENGEN 2005: Alois Vogl ends German drought with Wengen slalom win

WENGEN 2005: Alois Vogl ends German drought with Wengen slalom winAlois Vogl of Germany won the Wengen slalom today, surprising the crowd who came to this high Swiss village for the 75th anniversary of the Lauberhorn race. Vogl’s victory ends a 14-year streak during which no German man was able to win a World Cup slalom.

“My private goal was to make it at the end of the season in the top ten of the discipline ranking,” said slalom specialist Vogl. “It will take a few days for it to sink in.”

Vogl was beaten by Giorgio Rocca of Italy, but video replays soon revealed that Rocca had caught his tip on one gate. The recently-unbeatable Italian was disqualified.

The crowd then waited for Thomas Grandi of Canada, the leader of the first run, to take the final run of the weekend. Grandi charged hard out of the start, obeying the Canadian team’s mandate to ski with unrestrained aggression. But Grandi came over one of the many knolls on the steep Wengen course and lost pressure, coming nearly to a stop as he fought his way back to the course.

Croatian tech ace Ivica Kostelic lifted Vogl to his shoulders and carried him around the finish area of the Wengen course — known as one of the hardest on the whole tour. The two of them train together. “I’m so happy for my friend Alois,” said Kostelic. “We’ve trained so many times together in the past and I knew he had the potential. He is a good man and a good skier.”

Emotional moment for Ivica Kostelic
Ivica Kostelic had his first podium since the most recent of his many knee surgeries. He ran around in the finish, screaming with joy and hugging coaches, rivals and fans. A rowdy group of fans, bedecked in the blue and red checkers of the Croatian flag, celebrated nearby.

“It’s like when you imagine the biggest happiness in your life, that’s how I feel right now” said the Croatian champion. “I have had a lot of pain from my last surgery in January. This was a long and hard fight, and this is my reward I guess. I’m so thankful to God that I am here where I am today.”

Kostelic will return to his native country later this week. On Thursday night, Croatia is hosting a World Cup for the first time ever — a women’s slalom. Ivica will forerun the race, testing the set and sending a report to his sister Janica, a star on the women’s tour. It is sure to be a wild scene at Zagreb, where the Kostelic family trained as youngsters, and where the enthusiasm of ski fans borders on hysteria.

The Americans limp out of town
The American team had a tough day. Bode Miller skied out early in the second run, and is now one for five in slaloms this year. “I don’t feel good in slalom right now, but the other events feel alright,” he said. “It’s a challenging hill, so if you go out or if you make mistakes, you can’t feel that bad.”

James Cochran skied out early in the second run. Chip Knight, Jesse Marshall and Ted Ligety failed to qualify for the second run. Ted Ligety was inexplicably hard on his edges and round, and didn’t make the second run cut. Erik Schlopy was in 30th after the first run, despite taking a gate in the nose and racing in a blood-spattered bib. Rookie Paul McDonald, starting third to last, blew out early in the first run.

Of the eight Americans who started, only Tom Rothrock ended the day in a respectable position: He was 12th.

-This page will be updated shortly.

World Cup

Men’s Slalom
Wengen, Switzerland
75th Lauberhorn
Jan. 16, 2005

1. Alois Vogl, GER 1:35.38
2. Ivica Kostelic, CRO 1:35.59
3. Benjamin Raich, AUT 1:35.84
4. Manfred Pranger, AUT 1:35.98
5. Markus Larsson, SWE 1:36.09
6. Giancarlo Bergamelli, ITA 1:36.16
7. Kurt Engl, AUT 1:36.30
8. Silvan Zurbriggen, SUI 1:36.31
9. Akira Sasaki, JPN 1:36.44
10. Patrick Biggs, CAN 1:36.50
11. Manfred Moelgg, ITA 1:36.66
12. Tom Rothrock, USA 1:36.70
13. Hannes Paul Schmid, ITA 1:36.76
14. Cristian DeVille, ITA 1:36.77
15. Martin Marinac, AUT 1:36.78
16. Truls Ove Karlsen, NOR 1:36.81
17. Daniel Albrecht, SUI 1:36.90
17. Johan Brolenius, SWE 1:36.90
19. Andre Myhrer, SWE 1:36.97
20. Jean-Pierre Vidal, FRA 1:37.10
21. Pierrick Bourgeat, FRA 1:37.13
22. Martin Hansson, SWE 1:37.24
23. Thomas Grandi, CAN 1:38.45
24. Erik Schlopy, USA 1:39.98
25. Bernard Vajdic, SLO 1:55.39
other North Americans:
DNQ 2nd: Jean-Philippe Roy, Michael Janyk, CAN; Ted Ligety, Jesse Marshall, Chip Knight, USA.
DNF 1st: James Cochran, Paul McDonald, USA.
DSQ 1st: Ryan Semple, CAN.
DNF 2nd: Bode Miller, USA.

THE SCOOP

By Hank McKee

equipment
Men’s Slalom, Wengen, Switzerland, Jan. 16, 2005
Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Vogl, Volkl/Lange/Salomon
2 Kostelic, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
3 Raich, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4 Pranger, Volkl/Lange/Marker
5 Larsson, Fischer/Nordica/Fischer
6 Bergamelli, Volkl/Lange/Marker
7 Engl, Head/Lange/Tyrolia
8 Zurbriggen, Fischer/Lange/Tyrolia
9 Sasaki, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
10 Biggs, Volkl/Nordica/Marker

Men’s slalom, Wengen, Switzerland. … It is the 22nd race of the men’s 35 race 2 combined World Cup schedule. … It is the fifth of nine scheduled slaloms. … It is the final race of the 75th Lauberhorn. … Winning margin is just over two-tenths. … Top eight are within a second.

It is the first career win for Alois Vogl and his second career podium, both this season. … His first World Cup score was 1/16/1994. … And he has 12 career top 10 results. … He is the first German male to win a World Cup slalom since Peter Roth 8/8/90 at Mount Hutt. … It is just the ninth slalom win by a German of either gender in 25 years.

It is the 13th career podium for Ivica Kostelic. … His first of the season in just three scoring results. … It is his first podium since tearing ACL and damaging MCL right knee in crash at Schladming night slalom 1/27/04. … It is his fourth career podium in the Wengen slalom in five completed races.

It is the 42nd career podium for Benjamin Raich. … His seventh of the season. … His third in his last four races. … He has scored in 18 of the 22 men’s races held this season.

It is the second career top 10, the second career World Cup race result, the second career World Cup start for Patrick Biggs, 10/11/1982, Orleans, Ontario. … He is the seventh Canadian male to record two top 10 results in slalom along with Bob Swan, Jean-Philippe Roy, Scott Henderson, Thomas Grandi, Peter Duncan and Julien Cousineau. … It is the fifth career top 12 for Tom Rothrock and his second of the season in three completed races. … A bitter day for Thomas Grandi who scores for the ninth time this season… but was leading after the first run. … It is the sixth scoring result of the season for Erik Schlopy.

Bode Miller (2nd run DNF) still holds the men’s overall World Cup lead 1048-850 over Benjamin Raich. … Michael Walchhofer (did not race) is third at 641. … Daron Rahlves (did not race) is the next best American in fifth at 436. … Raich has the slalom standings lead 330-280 over Giorgio Rocca, a second run DSQ. … Vogl is third at 204. … Miller is the top American in 13th with 100 pts earned in a win at Sestriere 12/13. … Austria’s Nations Cup lead is 8724-4058 over the U.S. … The Austrian men lead 49213-2009 over Italy with the U.S. third at 1885 and the Swiss fourth at 1818.

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