Thomas Grandi wins World Cup Gold Medal in Giant Slalom - Alta Badia December 2004
Click for larger image
Jean-Philippe Roy, CAST 2004/2005
Click for larger image


Canada's Thomas Grandi, from Canmore (AB), won his first World Cup victory today after first run leader, Kalle Palander of Finland crashed out of the second run of Sunday's giant slalom race held in Alta Badia(Italy). Grandi, second after the first leg clocked a winning time of two minutes, 34.23 seconds down the Gran Risa course, 0.57seconds ahead of 2nd place winner, Austrian Benjamin Raich. Defending World Cup champion Hermann Maier of Austria and Switzerland's Didier Cuche shared 3rd place with 2:35.14.

Grandi, who turns 32 next week, danced in the finish area and hugged his teammates after becoming the first Canadian man in the 38-year history of the World Cup to win a giant slalom. Today, Grandi also ended a 30-year drought in Canadian giant slalom World Cup history by matching Kathy Kreiner's 1974 World Cup win in Pfronten (Germany).

The result delighted Italian fans equally. Grandi was born in nearby Bolzano but emigrated with his family to Canada as a child.

“I thought it was my destiny to win here,” said Thomas to Ski Racing Magazine's Nate Vinton. “To do this here, on this course, in front of this crowd – it is a day I will never forget in my life”.

Thomas had a 2nd place slalom finish in 2004 in Kitzbuhel and a 3rd in giant slalom in Park City, Utah in 1997. Today marks Thomas's 3rd World Cup podium of his career.

Alpine Canada Alpin President, Ken Read, was delighted with today's victory. Read was quick to say: “this is the first time in history that Canada has had two top-5 results in a tech event. It is an exciting day for Canada as we are on the right path to making our country a world leading ski racing nation.”

Ste-Flavie (QC) native, J.P. Roy left the starting gate wearing bib 48 and skied to a victorious 5th place overall finish time of 2:35.32. He finished 1.09 seconds behind Grandi. This is Roy's best World Cup finish of his career. He placed 13th in 2001 at the Val d'Isere World Cup giant slalom race.

“It's been a long road for me, I hope I can do the same someday,” said Roy of Thomas' win when speaking to Nate Vinton from Ski Racing Magazine. “When we hugged in the finish, Thomas was yelling and was even more excited when I told him I was 5th!”

Thomas and J.P.'s coach, Dusan Grasic of the Men's World Cup Technical Team, said the course conditions were great today and the terrain worked for Thomas and J.P.

“The tears are coming to our eyes. It's just unbelievable,” said an emotional Dusan to Nate Vinton from Ski Racing Magazine. “You don't say much when this happens; you just laugh and walk around. We, have a team now!”

“Thomas didn't choke in the 2nd run and kept his focus until the finish. It's a great feeling that Thomas won, but for me it's a really big success that J.P. was 5th,” admitted Dusan to Nate Vinton from Ski Racing Magazine.

“J.P. has been fast for two years and it
was just a matter of putting it together in the race. We hope this result gives him momentum for the upcoming races.”

Teamates Michael Janyk and Ryan Semple were ecstatic after today's history making win. “I can't wipe the smile off my face – I'm so happy,” exclaimed Ryan Semple to Ski Racing Magazine's Nate Vinton. “It's been a long time coming for Thomas, finally it's paying off and we are so happy for him.”

“We're showing that we can put it down now,” shared Michael Janyk with Nate Vinto from Ski Racing Magazine, who finished 4th in yesterday's Europa Cup slalom. “We are a force on the World Cup circuit. This was Thomas' life-long goal and he's done it. Incredible!”

Before today, the last Canadian man to win a world cup race had been Cary Mullen, who took the Aspen downhill in 1994.

The Men's World Cup moves to Flachau, home of Hermann Maier, for a giant slalom and slalom held on Tuesday and Wednesday.

TOP-15
1 GRANDI Thomas 1972 CAN 1:15.11 1:19.12 2:34.23
2 RAICH Benjamin 1978 AUT 1:15.81 1:18.99 2:34.80
3 MAIER Hermann 1972 AUT 1:15.48 1:19.66 2:35.14
3 CUCHE Didier 1974 SUI 1:15.17 1:19.97 2:35.14
5 ROY Jean-Philippe 1979 CAN 1:15.71 1:19.61 2:35.32
6 DEFLORIAN Mirko 1980 ITA 1:15.93 1:19.62 2:35.55
7 BLARDONE Massimiliano 1979 ITA 1:15.22 1:20.67 2:35.89
8 RAHLVES Daron 1973 USA 1:16.03 1:19.94 2:35.97
9 CHENAL Joel 1973 FRA 1:15.74 1:20.25 2:35.99
10 DEFAGO Didier 1977 SUI 1:15.53 1:20.54 2:36.07
11 MOELGG Manfred 1982 ITA 1:16.64 1:19.54 2:36.18
12 SIMONCELLI Davide 1979 ITA 1:15.86 1:20.38 2:36.24
12 COVILI Frederic 1975 FRA 1:15.96 1:20.28 2:36.24
14 COCHRAN James 1981 USA 1:16.19 1:20.35 2:36.54
15 SENONER Lucas 1983 ITA 1:16.68 1:20.25 2:36.93

Canadian who did not qualify 1st run : BOURQUE Francois (CAN)