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 . world ski news
20 December 2004 - 01:02
Canada's Grandi wins giant slalom for first victory in 12 years on WCup circuit
Second women's downhill canceled in two days
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ALTA BADIA, 19/12/2004 14:41, Italy (AP) _ Canada's Thomas Grandi won a giant slalom Sunday for his first World Cup victory in his 12 seasons on the circuit. Of Italian origins, Grandi was born near Alta Badia and his victory was celebrated as if he was a local.

"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. "This is the most difficult giant slalom and it has always been my favorite." Grandi became the first Canadian man to win a World Cup race since Cary Mullen at Aspen, Colorado in 1994.

Second after the first run, Grandi covered the steep and twisting Gran Risa course in a two-run combined time of 2 minutes, 34.23 seconds. Benjamin Raich of Austria skied a fantastic second run and moved up from 10th after the first leg to finish second, 0.57 seconds behind. "I used different skis for the second run," Raich said.

"The first run I wasn't confident enough to attack, I wasn't comfortable with the way the course was set up." Switzerland's Didier Cuche and defending overall champion Hermann Maier tied for third, 0.91 seconds back.

Current overall leader Bode Miller of the United States missed a gate and did not finish his second run, reducing his lead in the overall standings ahead of Maier by 60 points. Winner of six of 13 races this season, Miller still holds a 798-479 lead on Maier, however.

Miller said he skied over a rock during his first run and sat in a distant 20th place, perhaps causing him to be a little too aggressive in the second run. First-run leader Kalle Palander of Finland also skied out midway through his second run.

As soon as they witnessed Palander's mistake, Grandi's teammates rushed out to join him and celebrate in the finish area, while Grandi reached down and kissed the snow. Grandi's previous best finishes were second in a slalom in Kitzbuehel last season and third in a Park City, Utah giant slalom in 1997-98. He was sixth in two giant slaloms held here last year. "Skiing is sort of crazy. I skied terribly in Europa Cup a couple of days ago and finished 28th," Grandi said, referring to skiing's minor leagues.

"I knew deep inside myself that I was good enough. I just had to trust my equipment and let myself go down the hill as fast as possible and not break at all. "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." Born in nearby Bolzano, Grandi holds an Italian passport and both of his parents are Italian. The family left for Banff, Alberta when Grandi was 2 1/2. "The first plan was to go to Australia, but there were some immigration problems, so we decided on Canada. My parents didn't know where to go and someone said go to Banff," said Grandi, who speaks perfect Italian.

Grandi's grandmother still lives in Trieste, Italy. "It definitely feels like a second home here," he said. Grandi will not be able to tack the bib he wore Sunday up on the wall at his home. "It's a funny story. Last night at the bib draw a young kid from the valley came up to me and said 'I believe you're going to win tomorrow.' I said 'Well, thank you.' "Then he asked me, 'Will you give me your bib after the race'. And I said 'If you're right and I win tomorrow, I'll give you my bib.' "So after the race, unfortunately he found me and I gave him my bib," Grandi said, smiling. Grandi's main goal now is to maintain his form until the Turin 2006 Olympics in Italy. "I'm aiming for Turin, that could be the end of my career," he said.

By ANDREW DAMPF  

 
Second women's downhill canceled in two days  

 
VAL D'ISERE, 19/12/2004 10:41, France (AP) _ Heavy snowfalls wiped out a women's World Cup downhill Sunday, a second downhill race canceled in two days at this classic French resort. A snow storm and high winds forced the cancellation of Saturday's race, and unrelenting snowfalls made it impossible for course workers to clear the piste on time for Sunday. Winds of up to 150 kilometers per hour over the weekend created dangerous snow drifts that buried the safety netting on the course.

The women trained Wednesday and Thursday in perfect conditions but trouble began Friday when poor weather suddenly moved in and final practice was canceled. The International ski Federation said it was yet to decide when or where the two downhill races might be staged.

The women's World Cup race director Kurt Hoch denied rumors Santa Catarina had already been selected to recoup on of the two homeless downhills, but said the Italian resort might be considered if the station gets its cable car homologated and snow cannons working in time. Santa Catarina is scheduled to stage lower-tier Europa Cup downhill and super-G races Jan. 3-6. It is the same course that will be used at the upcoming world championships in Bormio. As it is an off weekend for the women, many of them will likely be attending the Europe Cup races anyway in order to get a feel for the piste ahead of the worlds. San Sicario, could also be an alternative. The Italian village is set to stage a downhill, a super-G, a slalom and a combined Feb. 25-27. There has not been a women's World Cup downhill staged in Val d'Isere since 1997, when Katja Seizinger of Germany won her second in a row here.

Last year, a men's downhill and giant slalom scheduled on the Oreiller Killy course were moved a week even before racers arrived at the French resort because of warm weather and a lack of snow in Val d'Isere. The women now travel to St. Moritz, Switzerland, for a super-G and giant slalom.  

 
Second women's downhill in danger.  
 
VAL D'ISERE, 19/12/2004 00:42, France (AP) _ A women's World Cup downhill scheduled for Sunday was threatened by another 40 centimeters of snow and more high winds forecasted overnight, race officials announced. After a snow storm and high winds forced the cancellation of a first downhill Saturday, organizers said more bad weather descending on the classic French resort would likely wipe out the second race planned for Sunday.

Winds of up to 150 kilometers per hour the previous night created dangerous snow drifts that buried the safety netting on the course. Some 60 people were working frantically to fix the so-called A-netting, the first safety barrier a skier hits when careening off course. About seven kilometers of B-netting, a second backup barrier, needed to be ripped out to allow workers to remove all the snow, then reset. The women trained Wednesday and Thursday in perfect conditions but trouble began Friday when poor weather suddenly moved in and final practice was canceled.

The International ski Federation said it was unsure when or where a makeup downhill might be staged. The women's World Cup race director Kurt Hoch denied rumors that the Italian resort of Santa Catarina had already been selected to recoup Saturday's canceled downhill.

Santa Catarina is scheduled to stage lower-tier Europa Cup downhill and super-G races Jan. 3-6. It is the same course that will be used at the upcoming world championships in Bormio. As it is an off weekend for the women, many of them will likely be attending the Europe Cup races anyway in order to get a feel for the piste ahead of the worlds. "For now this is a rumor only," Hoch said sternly.

"It's a fantastic course but their cable car is not homologated, there is no snow in the second half of the downhill at the moment and their snow cannons are not working.

"If they can get their cable car homologated, their snow cannons working and be ready 10 days before then we can maybe think about it." San Sicario, could also be an alternative. The Italian village is set to stage a downhill, a super-G, a slalom and a combined Feb. 25-27. Last year, a men's downhill and giant slalom scheduled on the Oreiller Killy course were moved a week even before racers arrived at the French resort because of warm weather and a lack of snow in Val d'Isere.

There has not been a women's World Cup downhill staged in Val d'Isere since 1997, when Katja Seizinger of Germany won her second in a row at the classic French resort.
By ERICA BULMAN 


 
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Next:
Timekeeping sponsor leaves alpine World Cup in the lurch – 21 December 2004 - 20:55
Maze wins giant slalom, Paerson takes WCup lead with second place finish – 23 December 2004 - 09:18
Rocca wins World Cup slalom – 23 December 2004 - 09:26
Ski Jumping: Ahonen wins Four Hills opener – 30 December 2004 - 12:26
Semmering Alpine ski World Cup – 30 December 2004 - 12:29

Previous:
Nordic ski weekend news – 20 December 2004 - 00:56
Rauffer gives Germany first Alpine win in 13 years; favorites falter – 20 December 2004 - 00:54
3 x 3 – 17 December 2004 - 23:51
Miller wins slalom, joins Girardelli on all-around list – 15 December 2004 - 11:56
Val dIsere Alpine Ski World Cup show – 13 December 2004 - 11:24

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