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Palander's slalom skis stolen between runs

Palander's slalom skis stolen between runs

Kalle Palander's skis were stolen between World Cup slalom runs on Saturday, forcing the Finn to use backup skis for the second run.
The 2003 World Cup slalom champion finished the day in 18th place as 21-year-old Jens Byggmark posted his first career win. He was followed by Mario Matt of Austria and Alois Vogl of Germany.
"Somebody stole them," Palander said. "But it was not a normal thief."
Palander said he went to the parking lot after finishing 30th in the opening leg. He put his skis against the team vehicle, in which technician Sepp Percht was sitting, and left them momentarily unattended.
When Palander returned to the car just before taking the ski lift for the second run, he discovered the skis were missing.
"There were no skis," Palander said. "It was possible to race on another pair of skis, the same model but a softer one."
Since the top-30 skiers begin the second run in reverse order, Palander was the first to start the second run. It was likely he would've improved his final result on a clean course had he worn his skis.
"There is no question he could have done a better second run," Finnish coach Pasi Laitakari said. "He was angry, both because of his first run and then his skis being stolen. It was a bad day for him."
The team opted not to contact the police.
"Somebody found them in the forest later so (whoever did it) did it just for fun," Palander said. "But it was too late. I was already above on the hill for second run."
Laitakari suspected "drunk tourists" of being the culprits.
Palander, the 1999 world champion gold medalist in Vail, Colorado, is no stranger to bad luck.
At the World Cup finals in Are, Sweden last season, Palander tore knee ligaments in a fall during the men's giant slalom to give Giorgio Rocca the slalom title.
Before that, he was disqualified on the second leg of the Olympic slalom in Sestriere.
In 2004, he lost the World Cup slalom title to Rainer Schoenfelder by 35 points after the Austrian was controversially awarded an extra 80 points earlier in the season by the International Ski Federation.
That same week, Palander lost his chance to beat Bode Miller for the giant slalom title when the final race was canceled because of fog with only 11 racers left in the second run. Palander was second at the time and Miller had crashed in the opening leg. The Finn needed only to maintain his position in the race to win the title.


Updated : 2021-06-17 09:18 GMT+08:00