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Grandi back, Maier reasserts lead in European races


While the Canadian women were up to their knees in Slovenian slush, the Canadian men had to contend with wet powder and low flying clouds in Les Arcs, France on Jan. 6.

Thomas Grandi of Canmore, Alberta, returned to the World Cup GS scene in style after sitting out for more than a month with a ligament sprain in this knee. The 28 year old finished 22 nd , which was good enough for a few World Cup points and bump him up to 35 th in the overall standings.

A total of 22 racers did not finish the first run, missing gates and falling because of the awkward conditions – Canada’s Jean-Phillipe-Roy of Ste. Flavie, Quebec, was one of them.

Michael von Gruenigen’s experience and nerves skiing through the fog propelled him to the lead, 0.62 seconds after his first run, and 1.62 after run number two – an almost unheard of margin in the GS. The Swiss skier also won in Park City, Utah, and Val d’Isere earlier in the season. The result at Les Arcs extended his lead in the overall GS standings.

Benjamin Raich of Austria finished second, followed by Marco Buechel of Liechtenstein.

Austrian Hermann Maier was in third after his first run, but dropped back into eight place by skiing cautiously on his second run after teammate and best friend Andreas Schifferer injured his knee in a fall.

Like in Slovenia, day two of the World Cup at Les Arcs was cancelled due to weather, this time by heavy snowfall and almost zero visibility.

The "Hermannator" returned to form on Jan. 9, however, beating von Gruenigen and winning his third GS gold at Adelboden, Switzerland. Fredrik Nyburg of Sweden finished third.

Both Grandi and Roy failed to qualify for a second run.

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