“Everything came together for me this season,” Janka said. “I have won
everything there is to win.” It marked the first Swiss overall World Cup
championship since Paul Accola won in 1992. Raich finished second for
the fourth straight season.
That left the slalom and perhaps the most exciting race of the finals if
not the season.
World Cup Finals Slalom, March 13
The slalom hill at Garmisch is tough on its own and the course setters
also challenged the field. With no tomorrow on their minds, the racers
concentrated on showcasing their talents. Reinfried Herbst had a grasp
on the title and just had to avoid having his fingers pried open by Julian
Lizeroux. First-run mistakes had left Lizeroux a second out in ninth
place and Herbst one slot behind him. Herbst entered a solid second-run effort without risks but enough speed.
Lizeroux, the French ace of the season, had been in this situation be-
fore at Adelboden, where he stormed back from 12th place for the win
with a run even he said was unbelievable. At Garmisch he put down a
similar run, clicking through the gates with uncanny precision and a
level of skill not seen in previous seasons. He beat Herbst in the second
run by 1.27 seconds and had the Austrian stressing in the finish. “My
nerves,” he said, “were shattered there at the end.”
There was still nearly half the field to ski and Herbst needed only a
couple of men to overtake the Frenchman. The first five of the remain-
ing eight failed to do so; then Andre Myhrer managed the lead. Felix
Neureuther, enjoying the comfort of his home ski area and a decidedly
pro-German crowd, unleashed one of the finest runs of his career, out-
racing Lizeroux for the heat and taking the lead in a stunning display
of slalom prowess. First-run leader Manfred Pranger charged hard but
could do no better than second — but that knocked Lizeroux down an-
Erik Guay nailed his first career super G win at Kvitfjell.