ADELBODEN, Switzerland (Jan. 14) - Hermann Maier returned to ski racing, World Cup leader Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) dodged a bullet in his duel with Stephan Eberharter of Austria and Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA) - in 22nd place - was the lone U.S. skier to finish Tuesday as Austrian Hans Knauss was the unexpected victor, winning his first giant slalom in seven years.
Outdoor Life Network will have race coverage Thursday night at 10 EST in its weekly World Cup highlights program.
Maier, the former Olympic, Worlds and World Cup champion, who has been sidelined since a motorcycle crash in August 2001, skied 13th and was .05 away from making it into the second run in his first race in nearly two years.
In getting his sixth World Cup win, Knauss, whose only previous GS triumph was in Alta Badia, Italy, in December 1995, had a two-run time of 2:29.68, which held up when Didier Cuche of Switzerland and Austrian Benjamin Raich, the top two skiers in the first run, skied out and Italy's Massimiliano Blardone, No. 3 in the morning, ran into problems at the bottom of his run and skidded to eighth place. Swiss great Michael Von Gruenigen was second and Norway's Kjetil Andre Aaodt third.
Rahlves was 15th in the first run but "got sideways on an under-gate" midway through his second, Head Coach Phil McNichol said. "He was having a great day and was .33 ahead, on track for a solid top-10 until he had his problem." He finished 22nd in 2:35.08.
"It was a tough day, very frustrating," McNichol said. "Bode was 30 seconds in the course and he walked out of his ski again. That one hurt because he was going fast, looking good." Miller maintained his 35-point lead on Eberharter, however, when the Austrian failed to finish his second run.
Erik Schlopy (Park City, UT) was sixth in the first run but went into the safety netting in the middle of the second run. "He was in great shape," McNichol said, "but dug an edge in and high-sidded it, flying hard into the fence…but I think he's okay."
With temperatures in the upper 20s, the coach said course conditions "were great. It was a fantastic trail. They watered the whole course and it was icy, but it gave the guys at the back of the pack a chance, witness the fact four guys in the 50s scored points," led by Norway's Truls Ove Karlsen, who started 50th.
The men move on to Wengen, Switzerland, for a busy weekend with downhills Friday and Saturday plus a slalom Sunday and combined calculation.
FIS ALPINE WORLD CUP
Adelboden, SUI - Jan. 14
Place, FIS code, name, nation, first run, second run, FIS points
1 50360 KNAUSS Hans AUT 1:14.78 1:14.90 2:29.68 0.00
2 510318 VON GRUENIGEN Michael SUI 1:15.71 1:14.06 2:29.77 0.52
3 420382 AAMODT Kjetil Andre NOR 1:16.01 1:13.92 2:29.93 1.44
4 50271 SCHILCHEGGER Heinz AUT 1:15.64 1:14.62 2:30.26 3.33
5 190236 COVILI Frederic FRA 1:15.19 1:15.08 2:30.27 3.39
6 420148 KARLSEN Truls Ove NOR 1:15.77 1:14.67 2:30.44 4.37
7 50451 GRUBER Christoph AUT 1:15.76 1:15.07 2:30.83 6.61
8 292000 BLARDONE Massimiliano ITA 1:14.61 1:16.50 2:31.11 8.22
9 50124 SCHIFFERER Andreas AUT 1:16.43 1:14.69 2:31.12 8.27
10 100115 GRANDI Thomas CAN 1:16.75 1:14.46 2:31.21 8.79
11 191139 VIDAL Jean-Pierre FRA 1:17.10 1:14.15 2:31.25 9.02
12 102239 COUSINEAU Julien CAN 1:16.85 1:14.42 2:31.27 9.14
13 200056 ERTL Andreas GER 1:17.47 1:13.97 2:31.44 10.11
14 560406 GORZA Ales SLO 1:16.67 1:15.07 2:31.74 11.84
15 291768 ROBERTO Alessandro ITA 1:16.57 1:15.19 2:31.76 11.95
16 291421 RIEDER Arnold ITA 1:16.28 1:15.55 2:31.83 12.35
17 180251 PALANDER Kalle FIN 1:17.08 1:14.87 2:31.95 13.04
18 560050 PAVLOVCIC Uros SLO 1:17.30 1:14.80 2:32.10 13.90
19 510767 HOFFMANN Ambrosi SUI 1:17.56 1:15.34 2:32.90 18.50<
20 420470 KJUS Lasse NOR 1:17.02 1:16.01 2:33.03 19.25
21 191746 DE TESSIERES Gauthier FRA 1:17.31 1:16.24 2:33.55 22.24
22 531040 RAHLVES Daron USA 1:16.40 1:18.68 2:35.08 31.03
23 292455 FILL Peter ITA 1:17.25 1:20.61 2:37.86 47.00
Did not start 1st run:RECH Freddy (FRA)
Did not finish 1st run:MILLER Bode (USA), MAYER Christian (AUT), DEFAGO Didier (SUI), MILLET Vincent (FRA), UOTILA Sami (FIN), SIMONCELLI Davide (ITA), SVINDAL Aksel Lund (NOR), SCHIEPPATI Alberto (ITA), SPENCER Dane (USA), BUECHEL Marco (LIE), MARINAC Martin (AUT), HOLZER Patrick (ITA), COGOLI Patrick (ITA), SCHOENFELDER Rainer (AUT), GUFLER Michael (ITA), KNIGHT Chip (USA), LANNING Thomas (t j) (USA), NILSEN Andreas (NOR), LEINO Jukka (FIN)
Did not finish 2nd run:EBERHARTER Stephan (AUT), RAICH Benjamin (AUT), CUCHE Didier (SUI), NYBERG Fredrik (SWE), CHENAL Joel (FRA), SOLBAKKEN Bjarne (NOR), SCHLOPY Erik (USA)
Did not qualify 1st run:MAIER Hermann (AUT), KOSTELIC Ivica (CRO), GRUENENFELDER Tobias (SUI), PLONER Alexander (ITA), PICCARD Jeff (FRA), VONN Thomas (USA), DRAGSIC Mitja (SLO), BURTIN Raphael (FRA), ZAMANSKY Jake (USA), VOGT Achim (LIE), VAJDIC Bernard (SLO), SEMPLE Ryan (CAN), FEINESTAM Alexander (SWE), KERNEN Bruno (SUI)