BUL (February 27, 2011) – Canada’s Michael Janyk came agonizingly close to the podium once again on Sunday with a fifth-place finish in the men’s slalom at Bansko, Bulgaria. Janyk, of Whistler, B.C., who has been skiing with great speed and consistency, was lying fourth after a strong first run on Sunday. He started the second run well, but ended up fifth overall with a combined time of one minute, 51.35 seconds. The result is Janyk’s third top-five finish in 2011, after he was fourth at Wengen and fifth at Adelboden in January.
“I’m really, really happy with my skiing and my approach to the day,” said Janyk, 28. “The result is good and bad. It’s awesome to be top five and so frustrating to be just off the podium. “It’s so clear in my mind what I need to do. I know I can be on the top of the podium.”
Janyk, who also skied well at the world championships last weekend but had some bad luck and did not finish, completed his first run Sunday in 54.64 seconds and was well placed to push for the podium. On his second run, he was fastest after the first split as he made his way down the course but lost time towards the bottom. “He showed some pretty good skiing,” said technical head coach Dusan Grasic of Janyk. “The most important thing is to be patient. There are only three spots on the podium and everybody wants them.”
Julien Cousineau, of Lachute, Que., was 12th after the first run and looked like he was having a storming second leg when he straddled a gate. “Cousi was incredibly fast. He was on the way to the podium,” said Grasic. “He pushed the edge and pushed the limit. It was incredible skiing but that’s slalom – he straddled.”
Grasic said although the course didn’t favour his team, the way Janyk and Cousineau are skiing bodes well for the last few races of the season. Cousineau has also been fast in training and was fifth at the world championships last weekend. “This hill is not one that we favour. It’s fairly flat. We usually do better on the steeper courses,” said Grasic. “If these guys keep skiing the way they are and have a little bit of luck it will happen. The only thing we need now is patience – keep pushing.”
Austria’s Mario Matt, who was fastest after the first run, did just enough to hold on to first place with a combined time of 1:50.35. His teammate, Reinfried Herbst, was 0.04 back in second place and France’s Jean-Baptiste Grange was third with a time of 1:50.83. Grange is now only 36 points behind Croatia’s Ivica Kostelic in the overall slalom standings. Kostelic straddled a gate Sunday and did not finish.
Canada’s Patrick Biggs, of Orleans, Ont., put together two solid runs despite starting towards the back of the pack and finished 22nd with a combined time of 1:52.73. “I think that coming from starting 51st and ending up top 30 – it’s a good result for him,” said Grasic. “He could have risked a little more on the second run but I think he did a good job.”
Calgary’s Brad Spence and Trevor White didn’t qualify for the second run and Paul Stutz, of Banff, Alta., didn’t finish the first run.
Meanwhile, Canada’s ladies team was in Are, Sweden, on Sunday for the World Cup super-G. Whistler’s Britt Janyk finished 25th with a time of 1:15.28 and Lac-Etchemin, Que.,-based Marie-Michèle Gagnon was 36th in 1:15.97. “Britt was expecting way more for herself today. It wasn’t a good run, from top to bottom,” said ladies team head coach Hugues Ansermoz. “As for Marie-Michèle, she did what she could in super-G. The visibility was not that great, it was flat light and you needed to attack as hard as you could to score some points. She is still not there yet. She still needs experience in speed.”
The ladies’ race was won by Germany’s Maria Riesch in 1:13.24. The USA’s Lindsey Vonn was just 0.01 behind in second and Vonn’s teammate Julia Mancuso was third in 1:14.03.