Simard wins gold in Italy 

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Although discouraging, the athletes noted that it was a close race – Hume was just two-tenths of a second out of the top-30 and just over two seconds back of the leader.

Austria’s Stephan Eberharter claimed the gold medal. Lasse Kjus of Norway was second, and Austria’s Michael Walchoffer was third.

In a slushy slalom the following day, Grandi finished 16 th .

"The first run was a bit of a struggle," said Grandi. "The course was already deteriorating, so it was a wild ride.

"The second run was good. I charged from the top and only ran into a few small problems in the middle which I was able to make up for a bit. The final times were really tight just ahead of me – the top-10 was just hundredths of a second away. But I’m pretty happy with my result."

Julien Cousineau of Lachute, Quebec, came close to joining Grandi in the top-30. He was 32 nd , two-tenths out of qualifying for a second run. JP Roy of Ste-Flavie, Quebec was 47 th and Whistler’s Mike Janyk didn’t finish his first run.

Janyk remained upbeat, however, after racing in his first World Cup since the 2001-02 season as a result of a knee injury.

"The come-back’s been better than expected," said Janyk, who has made podium appearances in Nor Am and Europa Cup competitions this season.

"My knee is great, feels good, feels strong. I just want to go out and ski well, and maybe get some more World Cup starts for experience."

Cousineau and Grandi also competed in a Europa Cup at Saas Fee, Switzerland this week before heading to Wengen for a World Cup this weekend.

Giorgio Rocca of Italy claimed the gold medal. Pierrick Bourgeat of France and Bode Miller of the U.S. were second and third respectively.

The women’s speed team was also strong in the downhill and super G races at Veysonnaz, Switzerland.

In the downhill on Saturday, overcast skies actually worked in favour of the athletes by eliminating the shadows that frequently cause skiers problems on the Piste de l’Ours course.

Fernie’s Emily Brydon led the way among Canadians, finishing in 16 th place.

"I was confident on the run," she said. "There are definitely areas I could fix and work on, but it was a fine result."

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