Canada’s Michael Janyk (Whistler, BC) battled his way to a season’s best fifth-place finish in today’s World Cup slalom event at Adelboden.
The 28-year-old men’s ski team veteran put together two solid runs in challenging conditions for a combined time of one minute, 52.50 seconds. Croatia’s Ivica Kostelic won with a combined time of 1:50.90 to move atop the overall World Cup standings.
Austrian duo Marcel Hirscher and Reinfried Herbst were second and third, respectively.
“The second run was a total battle,” said Janyk, who won bronze in the slalom at the 2009 world championships. “I fought the whole way – nothing came easy.
“I really liked my push today. I just want to put that in the bank and keep it going.”
With skiers racing in warm conditions on a challenging course, Janyk tried to focus on being aggressive.
“I went out to attack,” said Janyk, who was fifth after the first run. “I’ve built my career on attacking and fighting and that’s what I wanted to come back to.”
Brad Spence (Calgary, AB) and Trevor White (Calgary, AB) also put together solid runs, finishing 17th and 20th overall, respectively.
“I think it was really important for us to come here and throw down the hammer like we knew we could,” said Spence, noting the team endured a disappointing day in the slalom event in Zagreb, CRO, on Thursday. “Hopefully things are looking up now.”
One of the highlights of the day for the Canadian team was a World Cup debut for Sasha Zaitsoff (Nelson, BC).
The 20-year-old Red Mountain Racers skier kept his cool and finished in 1:01.56, 47th out of 49 finishers. He didn’t qualify for the second run.
“I felt pretty confident. I wasn’t too nervous,” said Zaitsoff. “It was really neat to race against all the people you watch on TV all the time.
“The conditions were pretty challenging but I think I skied pretty well. I just tried to take it all in – it was a big thrill.”
Patrick Biggs (Orleans, ON) and Julian Cousineau (Lachute, QC) did not finish the first run and Paul Stutz (Banff, AB) was disqualified after he straddled a gate during an otherwise impressive run.
“Paul had an outstanding first run. It’s too bad he made that one mistake,” said Paul Kristofic, Canada’s head coach.
“Mike’s day was strong and the guys in the top-20 did well. It was quite an eye-opening experience for Sasha, in a World Cup race for the first time. I think he approached it the right way.
“It was a good day for the team. We are walking away from it feeling pretty good.