Grange Leads World Cup Slalom

January 8, 2009 by  
Filed under features

Jean-Baptiste Grange of France has won the Audi FIS World Cup slalom which was held in Zagreb, Croatia, on Tuesday. The skier managed to finish in 53.91 seconds on the Crveni Spust course in less than ideal conditions. His remarkable finishing time beat Croatia’s Ivica Kostelic by 0.27 seconds.

As the fog settled in over the Crveni Spust course in Croatia and the slope turned icy and smooth in places, the skiers participating in the World Cup night slalom event were no doubt intensely focused on how to ensure that their run was the fastest without sacrificing safety. The event proved to be a turning-point for many, with overall World Cup slalom champion Bode Miller finishing only 29th and US Ski Team’s Cody Marshal getting a little stuck about midway and finishing a shocking 1.26 seconds after Grange. Nevertheless, expert skier Jean-Baptiste Grange managed to pull out all the stops to go home the overall winner of the event. He cheated Croatia out of its first World Cup home win when he beat the local favorite Ivica Kostelic. Italian Giuliano Razzoli took third place just 0.35 seconds behind Grange. This was Grange’s second victory of the season after his slalom win in Levi in November. He has also managed to secure two runner-up places in between that win and this one, helping him to rack up some valuable points.

Grange was later able to comment on the run and he remarked: “It was an amazing race, I love to ski here. I think today I won one of my most difficult and most significant victories because I won away, in my rival’s home after starting behind him in both runs.” The run certainly did have a nail biting finish as locals watched their hero being beaten by mere seconds. His recent success on the slops has put Jean-Baptiste Grange in the lead of the overall and slalom World Cup standings. Despite not being quite so successful, Cody Marshal remarked that he was “happy with the day” and said that despite his little mistake, he thought he “skied the pitch really well.”