Klug 16th in parallel giant slalom in Quebec
Aspen local Chris Klug took another step toward the Turin Winter Olympics on Saturday with a 16th-place finish in a World Cup parallel giant slalom in Le Relais, Quebec. Klug – the 2002 Olympic bronze medalist in parallel giant slalom – was the top American finisher, earning 150 FIS points.Klug’s qualifying run earned him the 16th and final starting position in the finals, which paired him against top qualifier Philipp Schoch of Switzerland, the parallel giant slalom gold medalist at the 2002 Winter Olympics. Schoch and Klug were neck and neck midway through the first run before Klug lost his edge on a heelside turn and skidded off course.”He’s one of the best riders out there,” Klug said. “I couldn’t back off and wait for him to make mistake.”Following his crash, Klug was docked the maximum penalty of 1.3 seconds in the second run. Even with the considerable head start, Schoch still had to work hard to earn the win, Klug said. “I gathered myself and I said, ‘Hey, I’m going to put some pressure on him,'” Klug said. “I was close to catching him. I pushed him all the way down, but you can’t crash against one of the top riders.”After knocking off Klug, Schoch advanced through the bracket to pick up his 12th World Cup win. Austria’s Andreas Prommegger was second, followed by Switzerland’s Gilles Jaquet in third. Tyler Jewell was the second-best American finisher in 24th.Klug gets another chance earn more FIS points today in another parallel giant slalom at Le Relais – the second of four World Cup parallel giant slalom races before the Turin Games. “I was riding a lot better than 16th,” Klug said. “The result doesn’t reflect my riding, but I’ve got another shot at it. I was the top American and that always helps with the Olympic qualification. It was a solid result, but I’m capable of a top-five.”Conditions for racing Saturday were less than ideal, Klug said. He described the course surface, which was cleared of a foot of fresh snow, as “typical East Coast rock-hard boiler snow.””But the board that I developed with Burton this summer did really well,” Klug said. “I wouldn’t have been able to make two turns with my board from last year.”Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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