KITZBUEHEL, Austria - Julien Lizeroux edged Jean-Baptiste Grange in a 1-2 French finish on Sunday at a men’s World Cup slalom in which American Bode Miller went out early in the first run after missing a gate.
Lizeroux, who had never before been on the World Cup podium, won on the Ganslern course in a total time of 1 minute, 33.83 seconds, beating Grange by 0.08 seconds. Patrick Thaler of Italy earned his first podium finish, taking third, 0.67 seconds behind Lizeroux.
“It’s great for every racer to win here,” the 29-year-old Lizeroux said. “Last year it was Jean-Baptiste, now it’s me, that’s incredible. I just risked everything in my second run and it worked.”
Miller, the defending overall World Cup champion who won the combined in Kitzbuehel last year, missed the sixth gate in his first run after losing balance on a bump. He has only three podium finishes this season and is ninth in the standings.
Ted Ligety of the United States, who was 19th after the opening run, went out in his second run.
Silvan Zurbriggen of Switzerland finished 11th to win the combined race that included Saturday’s downhill for his first World Cup title.
“It’s an amazing day, the best in my career,” Zurbriggen said. “My last few slaloms weren’t that great and it was very icy here, so it was not easy.”
Ivica Kostelic of Croatia was second in the combined event and overtook Benjamin Raich of Austria atop the overall standings. Kostelic has 675 points, Raich stayed on 660 as he went out in his first run after misjudging a turn in the bumpy middle part of the course. Grange is third with 656.
Lizeroux had two mistakes in the opening run and was seventh going into the final leg.
“I was a bit disappointed and felt an outsider,” he said. “But my coach came up to me and told me to relax and just go for it.”
Reinfried Herbst of Austria, who held a commanding 0.54-second lead over Grange after the opening leg, went out as he missed a gate early in his second run.
Nine of 30 racers did not finish their second run on the icy and bumpy course, which threw many racers, including Ligety, off line.
“After the first run, I didn’t really care anymore,” Ligety said. “I was in a good position for the combined but the slalom was important. With only four slalom skiers in it, the combination is kind of a joke anyway.”
The men’s World Cup circuit continues with a night slalom in Schladming, Austria, on Tuesday.