Raich wins Adelboden giant slalom and takes World Cup lead
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Austria's Benjamin Raich bagged his 33rd World Cup race as he outclassed his rivals to win the giant slalom in Adelboden. Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Grange finished 19th.
REUTERS - Benjamin Raich outclassed his rivals to win the giant slalom in Adelboden for his third World Cup victory of the season on Saturday.
The Austrian, winner in the discipline in Beaver Creek in December, clocked a combined time of two minutes and 24.95 seconds, for his third win in the Swiss resort, host of one of the most sought-after giant slaloms of the World Cup.
Raich, who also won a super-combined in Val d'Isere last month, has now bagged 33 World Cup races, including 13 giant slaloms.
"It's another great win here and it's always as important. Everybody knows what Adelboden means for a giant slalom skier. It's good for the standings and it's good for the morale," he told reporters.
Italy's Massimiliano Blardone, second in Val d'Isere, was the only skier to match Raich's pace.
Another Adelboden regular, the Italian finished 0.24 behind the Austrian to obtain his fourth podium place in the Swiss resort, where he won in 2005.
Raich, who previously won in Adelboden in 2006 and 2007, took over from France's Jean-Baptiste Grange in the overall World Cup standings.
The Austrian leads on 533 points, while Grange, the favourite for Sunday's slalom on the same piste, is on 478.
"It's a fact that I'm putting myself in the ideal conditions to win one of the globes on offer. I trained hard between Christmas and the New Year and I'm starting January with lots of confidence," said Raich.
"I really feel now that I'm getting there in slaloms too and I hope to show it tomorrow," added the Austrian, the Olympic champion in both giant slalom and slalom.
Third place went to Norway's Kjetil Jansrud, who snatched his first podium spot thanks to a blistering second leg. For once, Jansrud eclipsed compatriot Aksel Lund Svindal, a disappointing 10th, 1.42 behind Raich.
World Cup holder Bode Miller was unable to find his rhythm in the first run and quit after a few gates. The American has now failed to finish half of the 16 races held this season.
Swiss skiers were expecting much more on a piste that usually suits their style.
But favourites Carlo Janka, Daniel Albrecht, Marc Berthod and Didier Cuche faltered, and their unheralded team-mate Sandro Viletta stole the show to finish fourth, his best World Cup result.
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