March 17, 2007
LENZERHEIDE, SWITZERLAND - (USST News Bureau Release) - Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal skied just fast enough Sunday in the season's last slalom to clinch the World Cup overall title. Svindal, needing to finish no worse than 15th if Austrian Benjamin Raich were to win, was 15th while Raich won but fell 13 points shy of defending his title. Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) was 14th and Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH) didn't finish his first run.
WCSN.com will broadcast same-day video streaming from World Cup Finals of the men's slalom at noon and 4 p.m. ET with the women's last GS coverage at 2 and 6 p.m. ET.
Raich, who missed the overall but claimed the slalom crystal globe, had the fastest time on each run to finish in 1:39.78. Teammate Mario Matt, the slalom world champion, was second (1:40.75) and saw the World Cup SL title slip away. Raich finished with 605 points to Matt's 600.
Svindal, the downhill and giant slalom gold medalist from the World Championships last month, won the first three individual races at World Cup Finals to pull past Raich Saturday when the Austrian uncharacteristically skied off course in the GS. At World Cup Finals, the field is limited to the top 25 skiers in a discipline plus Junior World Championships gold medalist and points are awarded only to 15th place, so Svindal came into Sunday's race leading by 97 points. He needed to finish 15th - worth 16 points - if Raich won (100 points). Raich won; Svindal was 15th and finished the winter with 1,268 points to Raich's 1,255.
Ligety's total time was 1:43.08 while Miller, the super G World Cup champion who finished fourth overall, straddled a gate in the first run.
"I'm kinda disappointed with my tech events results here. That fourth in downhill (Wednesday) was really worthy but, on the whole, I'm disappointed my speed was better than my tech events," Ligety said. In addition to his DH top-5 and 14th in slalom, Ligety was 10th Saturday in giant slalom.
"My first run I didn't get the rhythm and the second run I did okay but I made mistakes on the flatter sections." He plans to stay in Europe to test equipment before heading to the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships, which begin March 27 at Alyeska Resort near Anchorage, Alaska.
Head Coach Phil McNichol said Ligety "had a solid race but not nearly what he's capable of. It's been a frustrating year for him, starting with that broken hand in October...but he's young and talented and competitive - very competitive, so he'll adapt. He'll be in a good position to strike next year."
He praised Svindal for "some outstanding skiing this week - and during the season. He's a good one, a hard worker, and it's nice to see that get rewarded...and Benni (Raich) really stepped up to take that slalom title. That was impressive, too."