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Finland's Palander Wins Second Slalom

Finland's Palander Wins Second Slalom

By The Associated Press Newsdesk
posted: 01/29/2003

Schladming, Austria (Jan. 28) AP - Kalle Palander of Finland won his second straight World Cup slalom Tuesday, and Bode Miller of the United States dropped out in the second run and failed to regain the lead in the overall standings.

Palander, the 1999 world slalom champion, was coming off a victory in Kitzbuehel two days ago. He overcame a broken ski and completed the two runs in a combined time of 1 minute, 45.41 seconds.

Benjamin Raich of Austria was second, 1.31 seconds behind. Hans Peter Buraas of Norway was third, another 0.02 seconds back.

For the United States, Erik Schlopy was 18th and Chip Knight was 23rd. Miller was unable to overtake defending champion Stefan Eberharter of Austria for the overall lead.

Palander, who gave Finland its first World Cup win in Kitzbuehel, had an excellent first run in which he was the only skier under 52 seconds. Warmer weather softened the slope in the second run.

"It was a lot easier in Kitzbuehel," he said. "I had a whole lot to do to avoid mistakes in the second run. It felt like riding on a washboard."

There was also the problem with his ski.

"It was tough, especially because my stick broke ahead of the second run, so we had to build something," he said.

The 25-year-old Finn has established himself as a force for the upcoming world championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

"Of course, I am a favorite for the championships," he said. "It's normal if you win races. But it is another race, another day, and St. Moritz is a lot less steep. So many more competitors can win."

Raich's second-place finish should gave him a spot on Austria's slalom team for the worlds.

"It was a perfect day for me," he said.

In the overal standings, Eberharter has 965 points, followed by Miller (957) and Norway's Kjetil-Andre Aamodt (776).

In the slalom standings, Croatia's Ivica Kostelic leads with 478 points. Pallander (378) is second and Austria's Rainer Schoenfelder (320) is third.

Copyright (c) 2000 The Associated Press

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