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WENGEN, SUI (Jan. 20, 2013) — Mike Janyk got his season up and running with a 26th-place finish in Sunday’s World Cup slalom in Wengen, Switzerland – a result he hopes can be a turning point for the Canadian men’s slalom team.
Janyk, of Whistler, B.C., endured a difficult start to his 2012-13 Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup season after he failed to qualify for the second run in the first two races and did not finish his first run in the next three. But that all changed Sunday when the 2009 world championship bronze medallist finished 28th after the first run and then laid down a solid second run to pick up his – and the Canadian men’s slalom team’s – first World Cup points of the campaign.
“Hopefully this can spark something,” said Janyk, an experienced competitor who has been ranked 21st, 13th and 9th in the world in slalom over the past three seasons. “I’m going to build off it, for sure – I haven’t had a second run so far.
“Obviously I’ve been going through some tough times – it’s the first time in my career. I’m still not happy with today but I’m happy being a part of (the second run). First run I got lucky but I gave myself an opportunity to be lucky.”
Janyk started 28th Sunday and finished in the same position at the end of the first run after clocking a time of one minute, 0.02 seconds – 2.27 seconds back of first run leader Marcel Hirscher, of Austria.
Given the chance to start his first second run of this World Cup season, Janyk laid down what turned out to be the 14th-fastest second run of the day to give him a two-run combined time of 1:53.34. Desire made all the difference in Sunday’s race, Janyk said.
“Honestly, I wanted to be a part of it today,” Janyk explained. “All those DNFs and all that stuff happening . . . Madonna (in Italy in December) was a freak straddle but the rest – I haven’t found that zone in a race. Today I did start to find that zone. I wanted to be part of it today.”
Pete Bosinger, head coach of the men’s alpine team, said Janyk’s result was a “monkey off the back.”
“When you go through a spell like that over a period of time when you have no second runs in this sport, it weighs pretty heavy on the confidence of the athletes,” Bosinger said. “Mike has struggled to feel like he can go hard in his first or second run but now he can look at what he accomplished today – there were some parts where he skied well – and build on that.
“He’s certainly wanting more but the fact that he got two runs will help him build for (the next race).”
Germany’s Felix Neureuther put together two strong runs to take the win Sunday with a two-run combined time of 1:50.53. Hirscher was second (1:50.74) and Croatia’s Ivica Kostelic was third (1:50.78).
Janyk’s teammates Julien Cousineau, of Lachute, Que., and Trevor Philp, of Calgary, Alta., did not finish their first runs, while Sasha Zaitsoff, of Queens Bay, B.C., was 43rd after the first run with a time of 1:02.34. Only the top 30 qualify for the second run.
“ ‘Cousi’ was actually on track to have a second run but unfortunately skied out so he feels like he’s turned the corner in terms of where his skiing is at,” Bosinger said. “We are all happy (with Janyk’s result). It certainly helps team morale. Being up there for the second run puts a smile on everyone’s face and now if we keep working hard we will get there.”
The next stop on the World Cup circuit for the men’s slalom team is next week’s race in Kitzbühel, Germany.
Yurkiw, Préfontaine outside top 30 in Cortina
Canada’s Larisa Yurkiw and Marie-Pier Préfontaine finished 42nd and 45th, respectively, in Sunday’s World Cup super-G in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. Yurkiw, of Owen Sound, Ont., started 37th and crossed the line in 1:20.58, while Préfontaine, of Saint-Sauveur, Que., started 43rd and finished with a time of 1:21.16. Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg won in 1:16.45, while Austria’s Nicole Schmidhofer was second (1:16.78) and Slovenia’s Tina Maze third (1:16.79). The USA’s Lindsey Vonn was seventh.
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