Whistler’s Mike Janyk picked up his first World Cup points of the season with a 26th-place finish in the men’s slalom held Sunday (Jan. 20) at Wengen, Switzerland.
The result snapped his skid of five consecutive races to start the season without racing a second run, and also marked the first top-30 finish for the Canadian men in slalom this winter.
“Hopefully this can spark something,” said Janyk in a release. “I’m going to build off it, for sure — I (hadn’t) had a second run so far.
“Obviously I’ve been going through some tough times — it’s the first time in my career. I’m still not happy with today, but I’m happy being part of the second run. First run I got lucky, but I gave myself an opportunity to be lucky.”
Janyk started 28th and sat there after the opening run, clocking in 2.27 seconds back of first-run leader Marcel Hirscher.
But in typical fashion for Janyk, he laid down an improved second run — 14th quickest among the field — and bettered his standing by two spots.
“Honestly, I wanted to be a part of it today,” said Janyk. “All those DNFs and all that stuff happening … Madonna (in Italy in December) was a freak straddle but the rest — I haven’t found that zone in a race. Today I did start to find that zone.”
Germany’s Felix Neureuther took the victory, bumping Hirscher to the second step of the podium. Croatia’s Ivica Kostelic earned bronze.
Canadian head coach Pete Bosinger was happy to see Janyk get the monkey off his back with Sunday’s finish.
“When you go through a spell like that over a period of time when you have no second runs in this sport, it weighs pretty heavily on the confidence of the athletes,” said Bosinger. “Mike has struggled to feel like he can go hard in his first or second run, but now he can look at what he accomplished today — there were some parts where he skied well — and build on that.”
Erik Guay’s fourth-place finish in Saturday’s (Jan. 19) downhill at Wengen led a good showing from the Canadian team, as three Cowboys found the race’s top 16, but Whistler Mountain Ski Club product Manuel Osborne-Paradis was not among them.
Manny was forced to re-start his run after Germany’s Josef Ferstl went down ahead of him and was given the yellow flag. After a long wait for a helicopter ride back to the top, the three-time World Cup winner skied off course.
Wengen is by far the longest downhill on the circuit, so having to start two runs on the Lauberhorn course makes for a significant disadvantage. Osborne-Paradis, who’s been on the podium twice at the venue, vented some frustration with a profanity-laced tweet post-race.
“Manny had some very unfortunate luck when he had to take a re-run and by then the light had changed,” said Bosinger. “It was a tough day for him.”
Italy’s Christof Innerhofer edged Austrians Klaus Kroell and Hannes Reichelt atop the podium. France’s Johan Clarey, who finished fifth, set a new World Cup speed record by exceeding 100 miles per hour for the first time. Canada’s Ben Thomsen briefly held the new mark earlier in the race. He finished 12th and teammate Jan Hudec was 16th.
Both the speed and technical teams are back in action this weekend with another classic stop at Kitzbühel, Austria. The super-G and famous Hahnenkamm downhill go Friday and Saturday (Jan. 26 and 27) while the weekend wraps up with a slalom and super combined.
Pridys racing European Cup
Whistler’s Conrad Pridy has instead been focusing on European Cup races so far in 2013 and has been joined overseas by younger brother Morgan on the second-tier circuit.
In a pair of downhills at Wengen earlier in the month, Conrad struggled and finished outside the top 50 each day. However, he had a solid 12th-place showing at Hinterstoder, Austria, on Jan. 16. Morgan had one finish in the top 25 at Wengen and then finished 19th at the Austrian stop last week.
European Cup speed races were ongoing at Val d’Isere, France, this week with both Whistler skiers competing.