Austrian wins World Cup slalom; Miller doesn’t finish
Aspen, CO Colorado
WENGEN, Switzerland ” Manfred Pranger of Austria won a World Cup slalom race Sunday for his first victory in four years, while Bode Miller lost control in the second run and did not finish.
Miller, the defending overall champion, skied out in the second run of the slalom after finishing 23rd in the first. He stretched his season-long winless streak to 20 races.
Also, Scott Macartney’s knee injury from a Saturday crash in the downhill in Austria forced him to return the United States for treatment. Macartney was set to compete in the Hahnenkahm race next Saturday in Kitzbuehel, Austria ” the same race in which he was involved in a horrific crash at nearly 90 mph last year.
On Sunday, Pranger led after the first run and finished the second in 52.26 seconds for a combined time of 1 minute, 40.36 seconds. Reinfried Herbst of Austria was second, 0.34 behind, and Ivica Kostelic of Croatia was third.
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Jean Baptiste-Grange of France, who finished sixth, kept his lead in the World Cup slalom standings. Benjamin Raich of Austria was fifth and kept his lead in the overall standings.
Pranger won his third World Cup. He earn two in a three-day span in January 2005 before his career was derailed by a series of injuries.
“I definitely remember how it feels to win,” Pranger said. “This great feeling is what makes you want to come back.”
He said his teammate Herbst encouraged him during recovery from a serious knee injury in 2007. Herbst, the Olympic silver medalist in slalom, also has returned from knee injuries.
“You can’t be jealous of Manni’s victory,” Herbst said. “I think he deserves it. He works very hard for what he gets.”
The pair said they hoped to restore the host nation’s pride a day after a “debacle” Saturday in the classic Lauberhorn downhill at Wengen, when the best finish by an Austrian was 18th.
Austria had four of the top five in Sunday’s slalom. American Ted Ligety was 12th after finishing eighth in the first run.
Raich leads the overall standings with 638 points, with Grange second at 576. Kostelic’s podium finish has him third overall, trailing Raich by 92.
“This is my fifth time here at Wengen on the podium,” Kostelic said. “I really love this course because it’s very classic. Skiing history was made here.”
Grange holds a 349-305 edge over Kostelic in the slalom standings. Pranger and Herbst are next, ahead of another home race at Kitzbuehel next weekend.
“It’s great to go there as a winner,” Pranger said. “It’s always a difficult course but everything is good there.”
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