ADELBODEN, Switzerland - Reinfried Herbst of Austria won the men’s World Cup slalom race on the Kuonisbaergli course ahead of countryman Manfred Pranger on Sunday.
Defending overall champion Bode Miller was fourth after the morning run but struggled in the final five gates in the afternoon and placed 16th. Ted Ligety of the United States dropped from eighth to 15th, but refused to make excuses for his second run.
“That’s what happens,” he said. “It gets dark early over here.”
Herbst had a stellar second run to finish in a combined time of 1 minute, 42.95 seconds after being 10th in the first leg. Pranger led after the first leg, but finished 0.18 seconds behind. Germany’s Felix Neureuther was 0.32 back in third.
It was the fourth career World Cup win for the 2006 Olympic silver medalist, who competes only in slalom and was making just his fourth start of the season.
“When you are only focusing on one discipline it is difficult to keep your rhythm,” the 30-year-old Herbst said. “But I’ve been expecting this result. That’s why I was super happy at the finish line.”
World Cup slalom leader Jean-Baptiste Grange was ninth and retained his lead in the discipline standings.
Austria’s Benjamin Raich finished 11th to keep the lead in the overall standings ahead of Grange.
Pranger’s last podium finish came four years ago, when he won his only two World Cup races — slaloms at Schladming and Kitzbuehel in Austria — inside a three-day span.
“I’ve been through some very difficult moments with injury,” the 30-year-old Pranger said. “I made some small mistakes near to the finish line and that is where I lost it, but I’m very happy with my result.”
Pranger hit the same trouble spot as Miller, but his recovery work was not nearly as spectacular as the American’s.
Miller had his right ski high in the air and showed deft footwork to get it down and plant his left ski tip round the gate to make a left-handed turn. He finished 1.13 seconds behind Herbst.
Miller and Raich were among four skiers in the top 10 in the morning who fell way back in the second run. Neureuther said the light was poorer for the late starters once the bright sunshine started to disappear behind the mountains.
Neureuther climbed from 15th after the first run, and also benefited from skiing after a three-minute break for television commercials.
“They prepare the snow pretty well in that time and that was good for me,” he said.
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