Italian Manfred Moelgg stole the slalom World Cup crown from French Jean-Baptiste Grange who stumbled just before the finish line of the very last race of the alpine ski.
Italy's Manfred Moelgg claimed his first slalom World Cup title after finishing joint sixth on home snow in Saturday's final race of the season. France's Jean-Baptiste Grange, who led the standings heading into the race, produced a storming second run but slipped just before the finish line to see his hopes dashed.
The event was won by Austria's Reinfried Herbst in a total time of one minute 51.31 seconds with Daniel Albrecht of Switzerland second in 1:51.63 and Austria's Marcel Hirscher third, 2/100ths of a second further back.
Moelgg topped the overall slalom rankings with 531 points. Grange totalled 512 and Herbst was third on 450.
Austria's Mario Matt, third before the race and with an outside chance of the title, ended up fourth after skiing out in the first leg.
Moelgg, who won his first World Cup slalom at Kranjska Gora in Slovenia last week, led after the first leg and played it safe in the second run to snatch the globe trophy and send the Bormio crowd wild.
"When I knew (Grange) had skied out I knew I could ski at 80 percent and not like a crazy man," the 25-year-old told reporters. "Obviously it means so much to win this cup in my country."
The slalom victory is Italy's second in three years after Giorgio Rocca won the title in 2006.
Austrian Benjamin Raich, slalom champion in 2007, ended the season without a World Cup title in any discipline for the first time since 2004.
Grange was bidding to become the first Frenchman to win the slalom World Cup since Sebastien Amiez in 1996 and the first to win any World Cup title since Frederic Covili in the giant slalom in 2002.
The 23-year-old only needed to finish second to claim the globe and he was on his way to achieving it until his sudden collapse with the line in sight. He completed the race but it was all in vain as he finished 16th.
"It is so cruel I was not able to achieve my goal so close to the finish line. I have no regrets. I know I gave everything," Grange said.
"But what has happened to me today is like cancelling my whole season."
Overall World Cup winner Bode Miller did not compete because of an injured hand.
Moelgg's sister Manuela finished third overall in the women's giant slalom standings.
Date created : 2008-03-15