Manfred Moelgg wins World Cup slalom title |

Manfred Moelgg wins World Cup slalom title

Nesha Starcevic
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
Italy's Manfred Moelgg kisses the snow after winning the men's slalom dicipline title, at the alpine ski, World Cup finals, in Bormio, Italy, Saturday, March 15, 2008. (AP Photo/Armando Trovati)

BORMIO, Italy ” Manfred Moelgg of Italy won the World Cup slalom title in the final race of the season Saturday.

Moelgg led after the first run and finished in a tie for sixth place, good enough for the title after pre-race standings leader Jean-Baptiste Grange of France slipped in the second run and finished at the bottom of the field.

“It’s an enormous joy, the crowning point on a perfect season,” Moelgg said.

Reinfried Herbst of Austria won the race, clocking 1 minute, 51.31 seconds for his second victory of the season. Overall World Cup champion Bode Miller of the United States skipped the race after injuring his hand on a gate the day before.

Grange lost his balance near the bottom of the Stelivo course and nearly went out. He struggled back onto the course but finished last, nearly five seconds behind Herbst, the 2006 Olympic silver medalist.

Moelgg then skied without taking risks to clinch the title by 19 points. Grange had won three of the previous slalom races, while Moelgg had one win.

“I went down at 80 percent,” Moelgg said. “The turning point was last weekend winning in Kranjska Gora. My coach Claudio Ravetto actually told me I had to win there and that’s where I first believed I could win the cup.”

Moelgg finished the season with 531 points and Grange had 512. Herbst moved into third at 450. Mario Matt of Austria, who went into the race as the third skier with a chance at the title, crashed out in the first heat and dropped to fourth.

After winning silver at the Turin Games, Herbst blew out his left knee during a charity summer soccer match and sat out six months.

“I’ve shown what potential I have,” Herbst said. “I always knew that if I get on a roll, I can do a lot.”

Moelgg kept up an Italian tradition in slalom, with Alberto Tomba winning four titles from 1988-95 and Giorgio Rocca adding another in 2006. Gustavo Thoeni won two in the 1970s.


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