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Canadian skiers flat at Park City

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Grandi’s 28 th place only result of the weekend for whole team

It was another tough weekend for the Canadian men’s technical team, with flat light, rough courses, and tough gates taking their toll in two days of World Cup racing.

Thomas Grandi of Canmore, Alberta was the only Canadian to qualify for a second run in Saturday’s (Nov. 22) giant slalom, as the other athletes struggled to overcome late start numbers and deteriorating course conditions.

Julien Cousineau of Lachute, Quebec, almost pulled off a miracle, with a solid run after starting the day from the 54 th start position, moving up more than 20 spots with aggressive skiing.

"I made one mistake at the beginning of the pitch and it cost me the qualification," said Cousineau. He finished 32nd, 2.31 seconds off the lead pace and 0.3 seconds out of the top-30 and a second run.

"I didn’t get it but I was close. For the next race I should be there," he said.

Jean-Philippe Roy of Ste. Flavie, Quebec also had a disappointing day, finishing the first run in 46 th place after starting from the 63 rd position.

"The ruts were a little bigger than I was expecting," said Roy. "It wasn’t easy today starting at the back because there were big holes."

Roy is hoping to work his way back into the upper echelons after sliding down the FIS start list as a result of a thumb injury last season. The farther back you are on the start list, the harder it is to move up in the rankings.

"I hope there will be races where the conditions hold up so I can do that from the back. You simply have to be patient and continue to work and it will come," said Roy.

David Anderson of Rossland didn’t finish his first run after almost crashing at the midway point of the course when his ski got caught in one of the ruts. In a split second he decided to save his own neck and pulled off the course to get back in control.

Francois Bourque of New Richmond, Quebec also did not finish after he skidded off course on the last pitch and ejected from his skis.

Although Grandi did qualify for a second run, it almost ended in disaster for the veteran when a gate keeper dropped a gate right as Grandi was passing by, he managed to avoid the gate. He went on to almost straddle another gate at the bottom.

"I couldn’t see very well," said Grandi. "It was pretty flat light.

"It’s not like either of those things cost me the whole run. They were just one of the many things that happened to me going down there."

Grandi finished 28 th .

Bode Miller of the U.S. Team took the gold medal finishing almost an entire second ahead of the rest of the field. Andreas Schifferer and Hans Knauss of Austria were second and third.

On day two of the World Cup, the Canadians had another rough ride. Only Roy would qualify for a second run, finishing 27 th after the first run from start number 64.

But things went bad on his second run when he straddled a gate halfway down the course. A DNF will not improve his start position at future races.

"I am really angry with myself. This was a perfect opportunity to get points, to do well and I blew it. It was right there for me," said Roy.

After almost qualifying the day before, Cousineau went all out. He was having a good run until he hit a deep rut, flew over his skis and slammed face-first into a gate. The gate went through his goggles, shattering the plastic and badly cutting Cousineau around his right eye.

Luckily eye and cheekbone were undamaged, and once the swelling goes down he will be able to see again.

Grandi also had problems, missing a gate in his opening run after he hit a bump and was thrown off course.

Nick Zoricic, a newcomer to the team, went off-course just eight gates into his first World Cup run.

Kalle Palander of Finland took the gold, followed by Manfred Pranger of Austria and Giorgio Rocca of Italy.

The men’s World Cup season continues this weekend with speed events, downhill and super G, at Lake Louise.

The women’s team will race in technical events at Park City this weekend, and speed events at Lake Louise the following weekend.

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