Kucera continues to lead Canadian team 

Janyk second in Europa Cup, Victoria Whitney on top in Nor-Am

Calgary skier John Kucera continued to lead the way for the men’s World Cup team as the tour crossed the Atlantic for events at Val d’Isere, France last weekend.

The Canadian skiers had a rough day in Saturday’s giant slalom, where Jean-Philipe Roy was the top Canadian in 25 th place. None of the other Canadians — Thomas Grandi, Robbie Dixon, Michael Janyk, John Kucera or Julien Cousineau — qualified for a second run.

Gold, silver and bronze went to Carlo Janka of Switzerland, Massimiliano Blardone of Italy and Gauthier De Tessieres of France respectively.

Things were a little more interesting in Friday’s super combined race, a format that includes super G and slalom disciplines. Kucera finished second in the super G race to Carlo Janka, moving up to 11 th overall in the combined event. Janka won the super G race and placed eighth overall in the super combined. Ted Ligety of the U.S. was third in the super G, but didn’t place in the overall standings.

“As it stands it was a pretty solid day,” said Kucera. “It’s not a very feel-good course. It’s one of those courses you have got to just really fight and battle all the way down and today turned out pretty good.”

Cousineau also redeemed himself, moving up to 18 th with solid runs in both events.

The win in the combined event went to Austrian Benjamin Raich, followed by Jean-Baptiste Grange of France, and Marcel Hirscher of Austria.

Men’s team head coach said the event was really a training opportunity for the World Championships, which will use the same runs.

“It’s a good opportunity to get on the race track, especially for speed (events),” he said. “Not many hills have a similar characteristic to this one, just because it is so steep and in your face the whole way down. There are not gliding sections really.”

The men’s team is back in action this week at Val Gardena-Groeden in Italy for downhill and super G races.

Meanwhile the women’s speed team headed to St. Moritz, Switzerland to squeeze in a few Europa Cup races before their next World Cup stop. The downhill event eventually was cancelled because of heavy snow, but organizers managed to run a super G and super combined race.

Whistler’s Britt Janyk placed second in the super G, coming within one one-hundredth of a second of first place. Wendy Siopaes of Italy was first and Dominique Gisin of Switzerland third.

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