Rahlves gets personal best World Cup GS finish
Truckee’s Daron Rahlves, looking to add giant slalom points in his bid to challenge for the overall World Cup title, had two solid runs last Sunday to finish eighth in a giant slalom, the best World Cup GS result of his career.
“My first World Cup top-10 in GS, and I know I’ve definitely got more potential, and I want to build on the confidence this one gives me,” Rahlves said. “It’s nice to get this event going.”
Meanwhile, Jimmy Cochran of Keene, N.H., collected his first World Cup points, finishing 14th as three U.S. skiers broke the top 20. Canadian Thomas Grandi won the race, while World Cup leader Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) missed a gate on his second run.
Grandi, second in the first run, had a time of 2:34.23 for the first Canadian men’s World Cup GS victory after first-run leader Kalle Palander of Finland failed to finish his second run. It was his first victory in his 12 World Cup seasons.
Interestingly, the night before he was approached by a youngster who predicted he would win. Grandi, a Canadian born to Italian parents in this mountain range, thanked him and promised him his bib if he finished first.
“So after the race, unfortunately he found me and I gave him my bib,” a smiling Grandi said Sunday after becoming the first Canadian man to win a World Cup race since Cary Mullen in 1994 at Aspen, Colo.
Austrian Benjamin Raich, with the fastest second run, was second (2:34.80). Rahlves, 14th in the first run, was timed in 2:35.97 while Cochran ” starting 45th ” was 15th in the first run and had a two-run time of 2:36.54 with Eric Schlopy (Park City, UT) 20th in 2:37.30.
“This is a tough hill,” Rahlves said. “For me, the way I’m skiing now my confidence isn’t high in GS, but it’s getting there. I was a little conservative in a few spots. This is such a challenging hill in the way it turns. You’ve got to be on top of it and skiing smart. It’s hard for me to hold back, but it’s what I had to do.”
Dane Spencer of Boise, Idaho, was ninth in the morning run but had problems at the start of his final run and finished 28th, nearly seven seconds off the pace. Miller missed a gate about eight gates from the finish of the second run but retains his overall World Cup points lead with 798 to 479 for Hermann Maier of Austria. Rahlves, at 306, is fifth in the points.
On Saturday, German Max Rauffer overcame gusting winds to win his first World Cup race, a downhill where Bryon Friedman of Park City, Utah, equaled his best result, finishing seventh, while Miller and Daron Rahlves tied for 14th.
Organizers lowered the start of the race to just above the super-G start because of the high winds, shortening the course by nearly 300 meters. The race was stopped at one point ” with Rahlves in the start house ” as course crews had to catch a young deer, which had come onto the course and made its way through the finish area to loud cheers. When the deer was caught and released outside the safety nets, Rahlves had to wait while the winds died down before he could race.
On Friday, Miller finished fourth Friday in a super-G while Michael Walchhofer led Austrians into the top three places. Daron Rahlves tied for 13th over the 2.4K course.
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