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Albrecht wins World Cup giant slalom

Albrecht wins World Cup giant slalom

Daniel Albrecht won the season-opening men's World Cup giant slalom on Sunday and Didier Cuche came second on the icy Rettenbach course to make it a Swiss 1-2 finish.
Albrecht, who led after the first leg, finished in a two-run combined time of 2 minutes, 15.78 seconds to beat Cuche by 0.14 seconds.
World Cup giant slalom champion Ted Ligety was third, 1.25 seconds behind Albrecht, while Benjamin Raich placed 4th, another 0.05 seconds behind.
Defending overall champion Bode Miller was fifth after the opening run but the American was only 21st on his second to finish 10th, trailing Albrecht by 1.59 seconds.
It was Albrecht's third World Cup victory after two wins in 2007 _ a giant slalom and a super combined, both in Beaver Creek, Colorado. He also became the first Swiss to win the season-opening event since Steve Locher in 1996.
"Someone told me before the start it was that long ago that a Swiss racer won here," Albrecht said. "So I thought it was about time to change that."
Albrecht was the last racer out on the course after his team mate Cuche had just posted the fastest time.
"I became very nervous when I saw Didier's time in the second run, it put me under a lot of pressure," Albrecht said.
The winner said he would now try to become a serious contender for the overall World Cup this season.
"If I can do well on the speed events, then we'll see. But it sure is a huge goal in my career," the 25-year-old Albrecht said.
Cuche said he was suprised to take second place.
"I was feeling well but you never know how fast you are until you actually race," said Cuche, who had recovered in time from a mountainbike accident in the offseason. "I was going for top 10, so this is a great result."
Ligety started the defense of his red bib as discipline champion in style with a podium finish.
"I am definitely happy," Ligety said. "It's good to be on the podium after the first race. Ligety climbed from 4th after the opening leg to 3rd place despite posting only the 20th best time in his second run.
"The second run was a little tough," Ligety said. "I did really well coming into the big ditch but I made a big mistake. I lost my confidence there."
In defending his giant slalom title, Ligety already expected strong competition from Albrecht and Cuche.
"Today they were so fast, that was pretty incredible," Ligety said.
Former overall champion Aksel Lund Svindal, who won the race last year, made his return to the World Cup circuit almost a year after a downhill training crash put him out for a season. He finished 13th, 1.76 seconds behind Albrecht.
"I am feeling good but I obviously can't be satisfied with how I raced," Svindal said.
American Tim Jitloff finished 20th, 2.44 seconds behind Albrecht, to earn his first World Cup points.
"It was like a hurdle and now I can say I've done it and feel confident," Jitloff said. "A bunch of guys in our team have great success in the World Cup and now I can say: hey, I can do that to."
The men's World Cup circuit continues with a slalom race in Levi, Finland, on Nov. 16.


Updated : 2021-04-20 14:48 GMT+08:00