Raich leads in enemy territory

09 January 2009 23:00

Benjamin Raich was flying the flag in the lion's den for an Austrian team decimated by injury and illness. The Austrian set an excellent time of 1:12.33, to take top spot after the first run in Adelboden, Switzerland.

Massimiliano Blardone finished with a time of 1:12.53, a fifth of a second behind Raich. Blardone continued the great string of results for the Italian team, finishing second. He was the only Italian to make it into the top ten in the morning run.

Another Austrian, Christoph Gruber, came third, 4/5 of a second behind teammate Raich with a time of 1:13.12.

Competitors were presented beautiful weather conditions in the first run of the Adelboden, but the race is nonetheless one of the most challenging giant slalom competitions in the World Cup tour.

Aksel Lund Svindal was the first racer out of the gate and set a time of 1:13.50. The Norwegian made few mistakes, but at the same time his run was not particularly memorable, and he finished fourth.

Jean-Baptiste Grange finished with a time of 1:13.65, 1.32 seconds off the lead, giving the French skier every chance to do well in the second run. Grange finished fifth after the first run.

Despite breaking a pole, Cyprien Richard came sixth with a time of 1:13.67. The Frenchman had to overcome a number of mistakes and a lot of bad luck during his run, and yet he managed to do better than the local skiers.

Carlo Janka was the best of the home athletes, with a time of 1:13.78, 1.45 seconds behind race leader Raich. Janka was the least disappointing of the home athletes, on a day when the big names failed to perform.

Marcel Hirscher made his mark in the first run, ending seventh, with a time 1:13.70. The Austrian youngster performed better than many of his more illustrious rivals, and was given a standing ovation as he reached the final gate.

In form skier Marc Berthod was unable to continue his good run, ending almost a second and a half off the pace, with a time of 1:13.79.

Markus Larsson finished just inside the top ten with a time of 1:13.86, and is just over a second and a half off the pace ahead of the final run.

Daniel Cuche was the second Swiss skier to leave the starting gate, however his run wasn't one of the best, as he was caught out by the tricky nature of the Adelboden slope and finished with a time of 1:14.07.

Daniel Albrecht, much like Ligety before him was caught when he came over the roller, the extra recovery action the Swiss had to perform after a number of mistakes in the opening section had exhausted him, and finished with a time of 1:14,11 - nearly two seconds off the pace.

Ted Ligety had begun extremely well, but his aggressive approach to the race led him to commit a number of minor mistakes in the middle section, where the gates are very close together. The American finished with a time of 1:14.97.

Manfred Moelgg was the first skier to crash out, mid way through his descent. As he came through the cannon's throat the Italian clattered into a gate, and picked up quite a knock.

Hannes Reichelt got caught out by the very tight mid-section of the race, and was unable to hang on when his skies kicked back, sending him flying. Reichelt had already damaged his right thigh before the race, and was also suffering from an ear infection, but decided to race in view of the upcoming World Championships.

The home nation's athletes failed to impress, with no Swiss skiers in the top five. The Austrian team on the other hand, overcame adversity and performed well in the morning run.

The final run for the Adelboden giant slalom is scheduled to take place on in the afternoon at 13.15.