Swiss skier Albrecht wins super-combi
November 29, 2007
BEAVER CREEK, Colo. ” Switzerland’s Daniel Albrecht won a super-combi Thursday for his first career World Cup victory.
American Bode Miller finished fourth, just more than a second slower than Albrecht. Olympic combined champion Ted Ligety of the U.S. finished eighth.
Albrecht, who was fifth after the morning’s downhill leg, delivered a stunning slalom run to win with a combined time of 2 minutes, 0.26 seconds.
“I was feeling good all summer,” Albrecht said. “I always do well at Beaver Creek so it’s a good place to start winning.”
Jean-Baptiste Grange of France, the world championship slalom bronze medalist, posted his first career World Cup podium result, finishing second in 2:00.93.
Known as a slalom specialist, Grange had finished only 37th after the downhill leg with a whopping 2.30 to make up in the slalom.
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“It was my best downhill performance since I started skiing combined,” Grange said. “I saw the other ‘real’ slalom skiers had caught up well so I knew I could do it, too. But I knew I needed to ski fast and without mistakes.”
It was also the first World Cup podium placing for Ondrej Bank, the Czech placing third in 2:01.23.
Miller, who has completed three races this season, said he’s been having trouble getting his speed going.
“There hasn’t been any speed yet but I’ve been making it to the finish,” Miller said. “It’s been a bit of a process with the equipment. We have some skis now that are allowing me to finish consistently. I’ve been finishing a lot in training. Unfortunately, I’ve been having trouble in the races getting the speed going.”
This super-combi ” which adds the times of the downhill and slalom ” was expected to favor experienced downhillers because of the toughness and speed of the Birds of Prey downhill course and the fact there had been only a single training run for slalom specialists to get familiar with the course.
But in the end it was mainly the gate specialists who dominated.
Didier Cuche of Switzerland, who posted the fastest time in the downhill leg, finished out of the top 20.
Steven Nyman, second going into the slalom leg, crashed out on the upper third of the course.
Starting in only his sixth World Cup race, 21-year-old Andrew Weibrecht of Lake Placid finished 14th, 2.20 behind.
Benjamin Raich, one of the favorites and the 2006 overall champion, finished back in 36th, a startling 5.78 off the winning pace.
Andre Agassi, dressed uncharacteristically in a brown cap and long coat, awarded the podium finishers sponsor watches then shook hands and chatted with Miller for a few minutes.
“I had never experienced first hand an event like this. It made me a fan,” said Agassi, adding that he could never ski when he was on the tennis circuit because of the danger of injury but took up the sport with his children once he’d retired. “I was a little cold. I’m from the desert.”
Defending overall champion and tour leader Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway remains in the hospital after crashing during Tuesday’s training. Svindal suffered facial fractures and a deep wound to his buttocks and groin and is expected to be sidelined for months.
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