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SCHLADMING, AUT (Feb. 17, 2013) — Canada’s world championships came to a bittersweet conclusion Sunday as Mike Janyk showed blazing speed to set the pace at the start of a thrilling second run in the men’s slalom, only to lose time at the bottom and battle to a 14th-place finish.
Janyk, of Whistler, B.C., aggravated a rib injury during his first run, but looked like he might have done enough to push himself into the top 10 on the second run when he clocked the fastest first interval of the day. Unfortunately, the 2009 world championship bronze medallist lost time lower down, but still finished in the points.
Two of Canada’s up-and-coming racers also got some big event experience Sunday as Trevor Philp, of Calgary, Alta., finished 35th and Sasha Zaitsoff, of Queens Bay, B.C., attacked the course but did not finish his first run.
“It was tough. As far as my season’s been going in races, I would say this was a solid race but I know how I was skiing before this. I was the skiing the best. It was insane – it was really good,” said Janyk, who was 18th after the first run.
“Second run it was there and I lost all my power at the bottom. I’m going to look to build on this. I know in training I’ve made steps that I’ve never reached before and I’ve got to bring that into racing now.”
Janyk’s world championships got off to a stellar start when he excelled in the team event alongside Phil Brown, of Toronto, Ont., Marie-Michèle Gagnon, of Lac-Etchemin, Que., Erin Mielzynski, of Guelph, Ont., and Brittany Phelan, of Mont Tremblant, Que. Canada came within one one-hundredth of a second of winning bronze before losing to Germany in the small final.
“When I skied in the team event I knew I had reached another level so it’s tough to sit with this result,” Janyk said. “I really thought we were going for a medal there and I knew that’s what I had in me to ski.”
Janyk first hurt his ribs in the team event and then bruised rib cartilage about halfway through a painful first run Sunday.
“Today was a bit of a disappointing first run,” Janyk said. “I sprained my rib in the team event and it came out again in the first run so that was tough.
“I felt really good coming into this world championships,” added Janyk, who clocked a two-run combined time of one minute, 53.81 seconds. “It would have been a long shot the way my season’s been going (to get a medal) so it’s not a total loss, but I knew I had the skiing in me and right now it’s tough.”
In a thrilling race witnessed by a huge crowd, Austria’s Marcel Hirscher gave the hosts the individual gold medal they had craved when he won the first run and did more than enough in the second run to take victory in a two-run combined time of 1:51.03. Germany’s Felix Neureuther claimed silver (1:51.45) and Austria’s Mario Matt was third (1:51.68).
Philp, a 20-year-old student at the University of Denver, struggled to get to grips with the course during his first run, in which he finished 47th.
“First run was a little disappointing. I didn’t get into it right away and then a couple of mistakes throughout the run didn’t help,” said Philp, who had a two-run combined time of 2:05.36. “The atmosphere of the event is pretty cool – so many people. Huge stands. It’s cool to be here.
“Next stop is the junior worlds (in the Quebec City region next week). Hopefully I make some better turns there and step up my game.”
Zaitsoff, 22, enjoyed the experience of competing in his first world championships, if not the final result.
“My run was really good up until where I straddled,” Zaitsoff said. “My plan today was to go full-out attack and either come down with a good time that I would be really happy with or blow up in the process.
“I straddled a gate just as the course breaks onto the pitch so I was about half way through.
“It was rough but it wasn’t that bad,” added Zaitsoff, who started 51st. “The snow condition was pretty good. I think I would have been able to be fairly competitive.”
Canada’s best result at the 42nd FIS Alpine World Ski Championship was the fourth-place finish in the team event. The best individual result was Gagnon’s eighth-place finish in the giant slalom.
“We’re leaving Schladming disappointed from a bunch of different angles,” said Paul Kristofic, Alpine Canada’s vice-president of sports. “We had some good energy in the team event and saw some great things. However, on an individual discipline level in both men’s and women’s events, we came up short on our expected performance.
“We’re leaving here with motivation to find solutions to closing the gap on the performances we expected here and we expect in Sochi (at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games).”
FEB. 17, 2013 – SCHLADMING, AUT – FIS ALPINE WORLD SKI CHAMPIONSHIPS – MEN’S SLALOM
WATCH IT ON TV: Sunday’s men’s slalom will be screened on CBC at 12 p.m. local time or 1 p.m. ET on CBCSports.ca. For complete TV listings visit www.alpinecanada.org/tv.
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