Raich wins men’s giant slalom
Aspen, CO Colorado
KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia (AP) – Benjamin Raich won a World Cup giant slalom for the third straight year at this Slovenian resort Saturday, finishing more than a half-second faster than Canadian Francois Bourque, and moved to within three points of overall leader Aksel Lund Svindal.
Raich, an Austrian who also led after the first leg, finished two runs on the steep and deteriorating Podkoren track in 2 minutes, 19.03 seconds. Bourque was 0.55 behind and Massimiliano Blardone of Italy was third, 0.57 behind.
Svindal, from Norway, and American Ted Ligety tied for fourth, 0.62 off the winning pace. Bode Miller finished 13th.
It was Raich’s 25th World Cup victory and his 11th in giant slalom, including the previous race in Adelboden, Switzerland.
“This course suits me very well,” he said. “It wasn’t easy, as the course was very soft and bumpy sometimes, but I am always very good here. My race was very good for sure. I made no mistake and found a good line. I had no problems in the soft and bumpy snow.”
With only two more stops left on the World Cup calendar, Raich is closing in on his target ” successfully defending the overall crown. Svindal now has 868 points, with Raich right behind with 865. Switzerland’s Dider Cuche is third with 788 and Miller is fourth with 663.
The victory lifted Raich atop the giant slalom standings with 319 points ” three more than Svindal and 19 more than Blardone.
“Some of my goals have been reached today, but I still have some more to do, so I have to hold my focus in the coming races,” Raich said.
Raich has an opportunity to take the overall lead in Sunday’s slalom.
“I won my first ever podium in a slalom race here. It would be a good time to finally win one now,” the Olympic slalom champion said.
David Stapleton is the development officer for the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club. A product of the club, AVSC sat down with Stapleton for a Q&A session in this week’s Clubhouse Chronicles.