Sunday, January 15, 2006

Wengen slalom

Giorgio Rocca of Italy pulled off his fifth win in a row today in Wengen. After finishing the first run fourth, good fortune turned his way as first-run leader, Benjamin Raich, straddled the third gate, third-place Ted Ligety gave up time on his second run and German Alois Vogl also let up on the throttle.
Though it is the first time in a long while that one racer has won so many consecutive races, Rocca will need to win the next two to tie countryman Alberto Tomba who won seven in a row near the end of his career. Ingemar Stenmark holds the ultimate record with 14 giant slalom wins in a row.
For the U.S., Ligety landed fifth. He blazed through the first run, but a slightly ragged second run cost him. He still holds second in the slalom standings though. Bode Miller had a bright day coming in eigth. In the first run he slid though a gate on his hip and still managed to qualify for a second run easily. His second run was impressive in sections, but sketchy in others as he came close on the line risking it like he always does. When he came through the finish he was a second up, but was soon surpassed by guys in the top ten of the first run. Tom Rothrock also qualified for a second run from 41st, but looked off balance from the beginning and skied out at the top of the second run. Chip Knight, Erik Schlopy and Jimmy Cochran did not qualify for a second run. Knight was the closest of the three, and had a clean run that was just 19 hundreths too conservative.
Another stand-out performance came from Japan's Kentaro Minagawa, who placed fourth, a career best. His teammate, Akira Sasaki, went out in the first run after straddling a gate, and Minagawa carried the flag. His second run was exciting to watch. He has an all-out style and boot-topping tendency that is fast, when he can finish.

Men's slalom Wengen, Swtizerland
1.Giorgio Rocca 1:42.28
2.Kalle Pallander 1:42.48
3.Alois Vogl 1:42.79
4.Kentaro Minagawa 1:42.90
5.Ted Ligety 1:42.93


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