Klug leads U.S. charge at World Cup opener
Aspen snowboarder and 2002 Olympic medalist Chris Klug led three Americans in the finals Sunday in Soelden, Austria, finishing seventh in the opening FIS World Cup parallel giant slalom (PGS) of the season.Phillip Schoch of Switzerland took the win as Swiss riders swept the top four places.While the Americans missed the podium in Soelden, it was a reasonably strong opener to get three into the finals. Joining Klug in the elimination rounds were Ryan McDonald of Entiat, Wash., and Peter Thorndike of Meredith, N.H., who finished 15th and 16th, respectively.Klug qualified eighth and dispatched Harald Waldner of Austria to win his opening heat in the finals. But that put Klug up against the qualifying leader, Gilles Jaquet of Switzerland, who won the heat and went on to finish second.Klug was just off the pace in the first run against Gillet. He turned the heat up in the second, but fell, giving the Swiss the win.In the consolation round, Canadian Jasey Jay Anderson knocked off Klug, who finished the day beating Austrian Lukas Gruener to take seventh.”It was a pretty decent start with three guys in the finals,” said head U.S. alpine coach Jan Wengelin. “But we can for sure do more.”Overall it was a pretty good weekend for us,” added Wengelin, who had coached the U.S. going into the Olympics but took two seasons off from coaching. “This is actually my first camp with the guys, and I think we’re coming together really well as a team. I’m going to keep pushing.”The snowboarding World Cup now heads to Landgraaf, Netherlands, for an indoor parallel slalom Sunday. The U.S. team will train a final day on the glacier in Soelden Monday, before driving 12 hours to Landgraaf for indoor training beginning Wednesday.
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