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Janyk leads Canadian charge in slalom

European surge leaves Canadians fighting for top 30



Whistler's Mike Janyk led the men's technical team into the Canadian history books this past weekend in Kitzbuehel, Austria with an unprecedented four Canadians finishing in the top 15 in a men's World Cup slalom.

In 2005 the team did manage four in the top 20, but coming in an Olympic year when the fields are generally bigger and at the last qualifying event before teams must be named for the 2010 Winter Olympics was no small feat.

Janyk led the way for the team, finishing 11 th after the first run then jumping up six spots with one of the faster second runs of the day to place fifth overall, just 0.26 seconds back of the bronze medal. It was the second week in a row where Janyk compensated for a slower first run with a fast second lap.

"I'm thrilled with my results today," said Janyk. "Once again my first run wasn't great. Unfortunately I wasn't ready with the snow, I thought it would be icier so I prepared for those kind of course conditions. In the second run I rethought my game plan and it worked for the best.

"This is a very difficult course. It doesn't look like it when you look at it but the terrain is really tricky. There are not a lot of flats and there are a lot of rolls so you constantly have to battle against the terrain. If you want to have a good result here you need to put everything on the line and risk it."

Teammates Julien Cousineau, Brad Spence and Trevor White placed 11 th , 12 th and 14 th respectively.

The event may also have made history books because of the lack of Austrians on the podium on their home course. Felix Neureuther of Germany took the win, followed by Julien Lizeroux of France and Giuliano Razzoli of Italy. Three Austrians did finish in the top 10 with Benjamin Raich leading the way in fourth.

Neureuther's father, Christian, won the Kitzbuehel slalom in 1979.

The slalom was combined with a downhill run for a classic combined race - the last slalom/downhill combined race on the circuit with the recent move to the super combined format that combines super G and slalom or giant slalom.

Ivica Kostelic of Croatia won the combined, followed by Silvan Zurbriggen of Switzerland and Austria's Benjamin Raich. The only Canadian to do both events was Ryan Semple, who placed a solid 11 th .

Canadians also posted solid results in other events at Kitzbuehel. Erik Guay, who has yet to reach the podium this year, had one bronze medal last season and nothing in 2008 - that's after five medals in the 2007 season - continues to improve. He fell just short of the mark once again. In Friday's super G he placed fifth, just one tenth of a second back of the bronze medal. No other Canadians cracked the top 30.