Lizeroux leads French slalom one-two in Kitzbuhel
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Frenchmen Julien Lizeroux and Jean-Baptiste Grange have taken first and second places respectively in the men's World Cup slalom in Kitzbuhel, Austria. It's the first French World Cup one-two in 38 years.
AFP - Frenchman Julien Lizeroux won the men's World Cup slalom here on Sunday ahead of compatriot Jean-Baptiste Grange and Patrick Thaler of Italy.
It was a first World Cup victory for the 29-year-old Lizeroux, and also his first podium finish.
"It's unbelievable, I thought I was one of the outsiders after the first run," Lizeroux said afterwards.
Seventh after his first descent, Lizeroux watched as his rivals, including Grange, failed to improve on his time in the second run, thereby securing his maiden World Cup victory.
"My coach told me to go for it on the second run," he said. "First podium, first victory, an incredible day. Every skiier wants to win the Kitzbuehel slalom."
Lizeroux's previous best World Cup performance was a fourth-placed finish on a different piste at Kitzbuehel last year, when Grange emerged victorious.
But Lizeroux refused to revel in victory over his compatriot and long-time friend.
"I'm friends with Jean-Baptiste," he said. "You race against the clock, not against your team-mates."
The result was the first French one-two at Kitzbuehel since 1971, and Grange heralded it as "a great day for French skiing".
"Julien's been looking for this victory for a long time," he added. "It's fantastic."
Lizeroux and Grange's double-act dealt a serious blow to the Austrians at their alpine skiing Mecca, with Austrian pair Manfred Pranger and Rainer Herbst having only claimed two doubles of their own this season, at Adelboden and Wengen in Switzerland.
Herbst started well here by recording the quickest time on the first run, but the Austrian came unstuck during his second descent and failed to finish.
Grange consolidated his spot atop the World Cup slalom standings after his 12th career podium placing, which followed a disappointing run of form.
"I had some bad moments at Adelboden and Wengen," he said. "Here I felt better. I had a better balance on my skis. The three days' rest at the beginning of the week did me good."
The result also takes Grange up to third place in the overall standings, four points behind the Austrian Benjamin Raich.
Swiss skier Silvan Zurbriggen won the super-combined, which takes into account times from the slalom and Saturday's downhill, beating Croatian duo Ivica Kostelic and Natko Zrnic-Dim.
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