Bode Miller is back
Guiliano Razzoli rocked the Zagreb
slalom for his first World Cup win.
pushed a tad too hard and got caught off balance at he worst possible point of the course to maintain speed. He had enough to finish fifth, but that was far from where he had expected to finish. Instead, the win was a career-first for Razzoli, a 24-year-old whose only other podium came last year on the same piste. “My first victory,” he said. “I am happy. It is incredible for me. Fantastic day, fantastic slope, fantastic people. Last was podium and today victory. It is incredible for me.” Moelgg finished second and Frenchman Julien Lizeroux skied smooth and smart for third place.
To the delight of the crowd, Slovene Mitja Valencic was fourth, not only a career best for him, but also his first top- 10 finish since 2008 and the first time
he’d ever been better than ninth.
Sixth went to Canadian Michael Janyk, and considering he was 16th after
the first run, it was a stellar effort. “I was a little mad,” he said of the first run
errors. “I laid it all completely on the line in the second run. … and ended up
with the best time.”
With Ted Ligety going out in the first run and Bode Miller skipping the race,
the U.S. still had Jimmy Cochran and he was on his way to a good showing
when his skis squirted out from under him and he slid to his hip. He popped
up before the slide stopped and managed to get around the gate, but lost a
massive amount of time and finished 25th.
The normally important Adelboden GS was even more critical than usual.
But it never happened, falling victim to the vagarious winter weather our
sport so commonly endures. A very persistent fog caused the race to be can-
celed with eight skiers waiting to start the first run. The Adelboden GS was
pushed to the end of the month, too late for Olympic selections. But it may
still play a role in determining who gets Olympic starts.
The Adelboden slalom on Jan. 10 produced what will stand among the great
runs of all time, a run so outstanding that not only athletes, coaches and spec-
tators were awed, but also even the racer, Julien Lizeroux, was still shaking
15 minutes after he ran. “That was one inspiring run,” said U.S. coach Sasha
Rearick. “It was awesome to see someone come out on a hill that tough, point
‘em down and ski like that. That was amazing.”
Ivica Kostelic, the third-place finisher behind Lizeroux and Marcel Hirscher,
had entered the final run with a lead of about a second on the Frenchman,
and ended up a second behind. “I skied well,” said Kostelic. That second run
was crazy. … I don’t think even Julien could repeat this.”
Add to this the steepest hill on the circuit and a first-run error that had left
Lizeroux mired in 12th, and the picture focuses more. He knew he had to go
all out, so he attacked where others couldn’t. It wasn’t necessarily pretty but
man, was he moving. “I didn’t know if I was fast,” said Lizeroux. “I made such
a huge mistake in the first run I just knew I had to charge.”
The U.S. group had executed the game plan to survive the first run. It was a
good fundamental plan as the first run had skimmed some of the cream of the
field including Zagreb winner Razzoli, world champion Manfred Pranger and
tour leader Carlo Janka. The Americans had Ligety in seventh, Miller ninth,
Cochran 15th and their coach Rudi Soulard setting the second course.
The Kuonisbaergli slope had plenty of teeth left. With the light changing
fast, Miller’s goggle rep grabbed a new set of lenses and put them in back-
wards. With the anti-fog surface facing out, his vision was horrible and he had
no choice but to back down, which isn’t easy with a ski setup designed for ag-
gression. He survived for 14th, matching Czech skier Filip Trejbal for the third
slowest second-run time. Both Cochran and Ligety exited at the same gate as