American Rothrock podiums twice |

American Rothrock podiums twice

Aspen Times Staff Report

Tom Rothrock of Cashmere, Wash., struggled on his second run Sunday but held on to make it two podiums in two days of NorAm Cup slalom racing, finishing third behind Italians Giancarlo Bergamelli and Giorgio Rocca at Loveland Basin Ski Area.

Erik Schlopy of Park City, Utah, was 10th, followedy by Zamansky in 11th and Bryon Friedman of Park City and Brad Hogan of Holmes, N.Y. in 13th and 14th, respectively.

On Saturday Rothrock, who conceded he was “super nervous” before the final run, finished second, just .1 behind Austrian Rainer Schoenfelder. Scotsman Alain Baxter, in his first race since being stripped of his Olympic bronze medal because of illegal use of a banned substance, was third.

Watching from outside the fence during the second run Saturday, and attracting autograph-seekers by the handful, was Bode Miller of Franconia, N.H., walking carefully on the snow after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee a day earlier. Miller is expected to be back on snow within a week.

Rothrock was the first-run leader both days. On Saturday he couldn’t hold off Schoenfelder, who had a two-run time of 1:39.07. Rothrock’s time was 1:39.17 with Baxter third in the world-class field of 119 with a time of 1:39.25.

“I’m just happy to get a top-3,” said Rothrock, a 2002 Olympian who scored his first World Cup points a year ago. “I put in a solid performance and I still have a lot to give. That was just a solid run. From now on, I have to just go for it.”

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After the first run, it was U.S. skiers 1-2-3 with Erik Schlopy, who had won four Nature Valley Alpine Cup slaloms at Loveland over the last two seasons, second and Chip Knight of Stowe, Vt. third. But Knight and then Schlopy couldn’t finish their second run Saturday in the blustery, 20-degree weather.

“I was super nervous on that second run after being the leader after the first run,” Rothrock said.

“Chip and Schlopy unfortunately went out because it was just really a fight for the second run,” he said, adding he doesn’t like to hear any results when he’s at the start. “I don?t want to hear anything but I did overhear that Schlopy went out. Right then, I told myself to ski solid and get a good solid finish in today and I?m happy with my result.”

U.S. Men’s head coach Phil McNichol said, “Great day for Tom. He’s skiing fast. The full slalom team is going well right now. It was unfortunate in the second run for Erik and Chip?Chip was ahead at the split and just straddled a gate?

“We haven?t been on hard snow since New Zealand [in August]. It?s a good calibration of where we are now.”

Four-time Olympian Casey Puckett of Aspen, who retired from the U.S. Ski Team last spring and has become a coach with the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Team, came out of retirement for the weekend. He finished 27th Saturday, 19th on Sunday. Said a smiling Martin Anderson, U.S. head slalom/GS coach, “Casey was the fastest coach on the mountain today.”

The men head to Park City for the Chevy Truck America’s Opening Nov. 21-24 with men’s and women’s giant slaloms and men’s and women’s SLs.

Kostelic wins NorAm slalom at Winter Park

Olympic champion Janica Kostelic of Croatia won the NorAm Cup slalom Sunday at Winter Park.

Kostelic, who won three gold medals and a silver in Salt Lake City, finished in a time of 1 minute, 31.35 seconds. German Martina Ertl was second in 1:31.70.

Olympic silver medalist Laure Pequegnot of France finished third in 1:32.30. She is the defending World Cup slalom champion.

The top U.S. racer in the first of two days of slaloms was Vail’s Sarah Schleper, who finished seventh in 1:33.39.

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