the flat light and had started to let doubt slip into his thoughts. “I tried really
hard in the combined downhill and couldn’t make the top 30,” he said. But he
is also a downhill veteran and notes that after a few years on tour you don’t
sweat small errors. “I had things that I wanted to correct and I did,” he said.
Osborne-Paradis finished his run and looked at the clock, seeing it read 17,
which at first he thought was his placing. Then he saw the minus sign in front
of the number and realized it meant he was leading by 0.17 of a second.
Picking up third on the day was Liechtenstein’s Marco Buechel, a man not
quite on his own as the Swiss long ago adopted the tiny principality’s team.
Always ready with a smile, the likable Buechel and his placing served to
heighten the Swiss celebration.
The Americans got a good effort from Andrew Weibrecht in 13th and a solid
result from Steven Nyman in 21st. Erik Fisher got points in 28th while Marco
Sullivan had a mistake high on course, essentially putting him out of conten-
tion before he really got started. Canada, with Robbie Dixon sent home to
rest a throbbing head from a minor concussion, still got 18th from Erik Guay.
Tyler Nella and Jan Hudec were well down the finish order.
Then, it was time for what many consider to be the best slalom hill of the
World Cup circuit. The result was oddly satisfying. Croatian Ivica Kostelic
had left the Cup tour after Val d’Isere in December and, with an eye on the
schedule, elected to have a knee scope. He returned for the night race at Za-
greb Jan. 6, but didn’t qualify for a second run. At Adelboden he had been
third. At Wengen he won using a formula he’s familiar with. He put pressure
on the rest of the field with a big first run, then skied hard but safe in the
second for his first win since December of ‘08.
“I had never lost after leading the first run,” said Kostelic, admitting to a bit
of nervousness because of it. He had not won at Wengen since 2002 and said
the major difference between then and now was the speed of the competi-
tion. “We have many more contenders for victory than we had.”
Amen. The guys who finished near the top of the Wengen results can also
be found near the top of the standings. Well, most of them. In second was
Swede Andre Myhrer whose only consistency is his hell-bent attack. In the
two slaloms he has finished this season, he’s been 27th and second.
Third, though, went to slalom standings leader Reinfried Herbst who had
an insurmountable lead after winning the first two slaloms of the season.
That lead now seems miniscule at 19 points over Lizeroux, who finished fifth
at Wengen. Kostelic sits third in the standings, also within striking distance.
Fourth was Mr. Consistent, Benjamin Raich, now fifth in the standings.
It was a strong day in the most unforgiving of the alpine disciplines for the
North Americans. Ligety finished eighth, Canada’s Michael Janyk 10th, Jim-
my Cochran 12th, Canadians Julien Cousineau 14th and Brad Spence 19th.
They were good results that underscore the promise. The top seven guys in
the race were all within the same second and at least some of our guys know
they have more speed in them.
“I definitely had some sections where I thought I could be the fastest guy
out there,” said Cochran.
Ligety was concentrated on getting a finish. “Ted is not focused on the re-
sult,” said coach Rearick. “He’s focused on what he needs to do to get better
tomorrow and the next day.”
Janyk won the second run, and said that told him “I know I have what it
takes to win.”
Nobody wants to get this close and not get a ticket to play in the Show.
The pressure at Kitzbuehel and then Schladming — the next two slaloms
— should ratchet up even more.
ore orn hill.
Wengen’s Lauberhorn downhill podium: Manuel Osborne-Paradis (second), Carlo Janka (first) and Marco Buechel (third).
Michael Janyk was 10th in the
Thousands crowded the finish area for the 80th Lauberhorn.