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Cousineau leads Canadian men in NorAm slaloms

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Julian Cousineau was the best of a young Canadian men’s team that competed against a largely World Cup field in a pair of NorAm slalom races in Loveland, Colorado last weekend.

Cousineau finished 21 st in Sunday’s slalom and 25 th in Saturday’s race. Whistler’s Michael Janyk was 22 nd in Sunday’s slalom, while development team member Nick Zoricic of Toronto was 23 rd .

After a sloppy first run on an icy Loveland track, all three Canadian men moved up 10 places with strong second runs to finish in the top-25.

"We have to take our training performance into the races – charge more and risk more," said men's technical team coach Dusan Grasic. "The guys were way too comfortable. If you want to win you have to put it on the edge – think about winning and not just getting down the hill. I know this was a strong field, but we can put it out there better than this."

Italian skiers Giancarlo Bergamelli and Giorgio Rocca finished first and second in Sunday’s race, while American Tom Rothrock completed a promising weekend by finishing third.

Rothrock was second in Saturday’s slalom, just a tenth of a second behind Austrian veteran Rainer Schoenfelder. Alain Baxter of Great Britain was third in Saturday’s race.

Canada’s top technical skiers, Jean-Philippe Roy and Thomas Grandi, did not compete in the Loveland NorAms, instead spending their time training at Nakiska in preparation for the Nov. 22 World Cup GS at Park City, Utah.

Roy and Grandi were joined at Nakiska by the Swiss men’s technical team, including Michael von Grunigen and Didier Cuche.

While the technical skiers were on the eastern side of the Rockies, many of the best speed skiers are training at Panorama until Nov. 25, including Italy’s Kristian Ghedina and Swiss Franco Cavagn, Bruno Kernen and Ambrosi Hoffmann. They are training alongside Canadians Jeff Hume, Erik Guay, Jan Hudec, Vincent Lavoie and Mike Giannelli.

Melanie Turgeon, Anne-Marie Lefrancois and Emily Brydon of the Canadian women’s speed team are also training at Panorama.

"We have to tip our hat to Jan Sekirik at Nakiska and Brad Brush at Panorama for doing a tremendous job of getting their hills in great shape for training," said Joze Sparovec, vice-president of athletics at Alpine Canada. "This was some of the best training teams could find anywhere in the world. They used water injection and had safety in place – all the pieces were there for excellent training."

The first men’s speed races of the season are Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at Lake Louise. The women will race a super G at Aspen before moving to Lake Louise for speed events Dec. 6-8.

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