The night before Thomas Grandi captured a giant slalom for his first victory in his 12 World Cup seasons, he was approached by a youngster who predicted he would win. Grandi, a Canadian born...
ALTA BADIA, Italy The night before Thomas Grandi captured a giant slalom for his first victory in his 12 World Cup seasons, 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 yesterday after becoming the first Canadian man to win a World Cup event since Cary Mullen in 1994 in Aspen, Colo.
Austria’s Benjamin Raich was second and Switzerland’s Didier Cuche and Austria’s Hermann Maier shared third. The top U.S. finisher was Daron Rahlves of Sugar Bowl, Calif., who was eighth.
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Bode Miller of Franconia, N.H., missed a gate and did not finish his second run, reducing his lead in the World Cup overall standings. A winner of six of 13 events this season, Miller has a 798-479 points lead over second-place Maier.
Miller said he skied over a rock during his first run and was in 20th place, perhaps causing him to press in the second run. The Canadian team trains often with the Americans, and Miller was pleased for the 31-year-old Grandi.
“He’s been skiing a long, long time, waiting and working hard,” Miller said. “It’s great to see him on top.”
Grandi, who was second after the first run, covered the steep and twisting Gran Risa course in a two-run time of 2 minutes, 34.23 seconds.
“It’s been a long journey to get to this point,” Grandi said. “I really wanted to get that monkey off my back and win, and it couldn’t have happened in a better place than Alta Badia.”
Grandi finished second in a slalom in Kitzbuehel, Austria, last season.
Raich had an excellent second run and moved up from 10th after the first leg to finish 0.57 seconds behind. Cuche and Maier, the defending overall champion, were 0.91 seconds back.
“I used different skis for the second run,” Raich said. “The first run, I wasn’t confident enough to attack.”
Grandi was sixth in two giant slaloms at this site last season.
“Skiing is sort of crazy. I skied terribly in Europa Cup a couple of days ago and finished 28th,” said Grandi, referring to the sport’s minor leagues. “There have been times I thought about quitting, asking myself if I was good enough to win. When I hurt my back four years ago and missed an entire season, I had a lot of doubts about returning.”
Davis wins speedskating title; Tacoma’s Boutiette is 3rd
MILWAUKEE Shani Davis of Chicago and Maria Lamb of River Falls, Wis., won individual speedskating titles in the allround competition at the U.S. Long Track National Championships.
Davis, who captured the men’s title for the third straight year, won the 1,500 meters in 1 minute, 47.73 seconds, a Pettit National Ice Center record.
Davis finished second to Chad Hedrick of Spring, Texas, in the 10,000 and edged Hedrick on points for the title.
KC Boutiette of Tacoma placed third in the overall standings and in the 10,000.
Lamb, who turns 19 next month, won the 5,000 in 7:38.44. She also won the 500 Saturday to beat runner-up Kristine Holzer of Boise, Idaho, for her first national title.
Heavy snowfall wiped out a women’s World Cup downhill, the second straight day a downhill was called off in Val d’Isere, France.
A snowstorm and high winds forced Saturday’s race to be abandoned. Winds of up to 90 mph during the weekend created dangerous drifts that buried the safety netting.
The International Ski Federation has yet to decide when or where the two downhill races might be staged.
Finland’s Janne Ahonen overcame rain and wind in Engelberg, Switzerland, to win a ski jump for the second straight day, his seventh victory in eight World Cup events this season.
Former Olympian Tommy Czeschin and Hannah Teter claimed halfpipe titles at the U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix in Breckenridge, Colo.