Reichelt aces Olympic test with giant win

Sat Feb 23, 2008 7:39pm EST
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By Steve Keating

WHISTLER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Hannes Reichelt posted his first career World Cup giant slalom win on Saturday, capping a dominant display by the Austrian men on courses that will be used for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Reichelt, runner-up in Thursday's super-G, held his form on a deteriorating layout to clock a two-run winning time of two minutes, 37.43 seconds ahead of Switzerland's Didier Cuche on 2:37.82.

Austria's Olympic giant slalom champion Benjamin Raich, the leader after the first leg, completed the podium taking third in 2:37.87 to close the gap on American Bode Miller in the battle for the overall World Cup title.

Ted Ligety, the Olympic combined champion, posted the top U.S. finish crossing fourth followed by John Kucera of Canada.

"Yesterday I was beaten by 3/100ths of a second and I didn't want that to happen again so I had to push as hard as I could," Reichelt told reporters after recording his third career World Cup victory.

"To win a giant slalom is much more difficult than winning my two super-Gs so this is a wonderful surprise."

The Austrians will no doubt be looking forward to their return to Whistler Mountain in two years for the Vancouver Winter Games after winning both the Olympic test events staged on the courses and claiming four of six places on the podium.

"We will happily take these results," Austrian alpine ski chief Hans Pum told reporters. "This mountain has been good for us.   Continued...

<p>Austria's Hannes Reichelt (C) is flanked by team mate Benjamin Raich (E) and Switzerland's Didier Cuche during Men's World Cup Giant Slalom podium ceremonies in Whistler, British Columbia February 23, 2008. Reichelt was first with Cuche in second and Raich in third. REUTERS/Andy Clark</p>