Herbst takes Adelboden slalom

Updated: January 11, 2009, 10:32 AM ET
Reuters

ADELBODEN, Switzerland -- Olympic silver medalist Reinfried Herbst of Austria won his first race of the season Sunday with a victory in the Adelboden slalom.

Herbst, 30, who won two slaloms last season, recorded his fourth career victory with a combined time of 1 minute, 42.95 seconds. He spent most of the early season competing in the Europa Cup and missed the U.S. section of the World Cup.

Fellow Austrian Manfred Pranger, who missed last season because of injury, was second and Germany's Felix Neureuther finished third.

"I feel as good as I did when I got the silver medal in Turin," Herbst told reporters. "I never stopped believing in myself and it's great to be back on the podium in such a prestigious place as Adelboden, in front of so many great skiers.

"It's also great to share the podium with Manfred. It's been a long time since Austrians did so well in a slalom."

An Austrian sweep looked possible after Benjamin Raich, winner of Saturday's giant slalom, was second fastest behind Pranger in the morning run.

But Raich faltered in the bottom part of the second run to finish 11th, which was good enough for him to keep the World Cup lead on 557 points, 50 ahead of France's Jean-Baptiste Grange.

The Frenchman, who has won two slaloms this season, finished ninth.

"Some people seem to think that I should win every slalom I enter but I never believed it was possible. Ninth is 30 points, I'm not leaving here empty-handed," Grange said.

Other big names struggled on the classic Chunisnaergli course. Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal did not qualify for the second leg and American Bode Miller was 16th overall after a solid morning run had placed him in fifth place.

The men's World Cup stays in Switzerland this week with the classic Wengen weekend, including a super-combined, a downhill and a slalom.

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