Plaschy takes men's slalom

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The Independent Online

Austria's Thomas Stangassinger will have a tough rival for gold in the overall World Cup slalom standings.

Austria's Thomas Stangassinger will have a tough rival for gold in the overall World Cup slalom standings.

Didier Plaschy of Switzerland, once called a "one-day fly" by those who didn't believe he's capable of more than one-off results, won his second race in just four weeks today, taking the men's slalom at Kranjska Gora in Slovenia.

And he's confident he hasn't said his last word yet.

"I'm sure I can make it again," he said after the race. And, with a broad grin, he added: "One more World Cup victory, and I'm a legend in Switzerland."

Capitalizing on an aggressive yet technical style, the Swiss slalom specialist twisted his way around the 64 gates down the hard, well-prepared Podkoren course in a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 40.39 seconds.

Plaschy, winner of the season's opening slalom at Beaver Creek, Colorado, last month, took advantage of start No. 1 to post two excellent runs.

Austria's Benjamin Raich, whose previous season-best result was the second spot in slalom at Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, last week, again finished second, crossing in 1:40.48.

"I didn't ski aggressively enough in the upper part of the course," Raich said. "That's where I lost the race."

Stangassinger, second and third in the two opening slaloms of the season, collected his third podium in as many World Cup slaloms, taking the bronze in 1:41.13. But Plaschy's win meant he had to share top showing in overal slalom results for the season with the Swiss skier - both now have 200 points.

Stangassinger, who remains the hottest contender for the top spot in the overall World Cup slalom rankings, said snow conditions were tough in Kranjska Gora but "fair for everybody."

"This is a special place for me, I've been on the podium here many times," he said.

Iceland's Kristinn Bjornsson posted a dream second run, moving up from 26th spot after round one to fourth place overall in 1:41.30.

Austria's Christian Mayer, a giant slalom specialist and a fixed star on the World Cup circuit, finished fifth, 0.08 seconds behind Bjornsson.

Unable to bear the pressure, home-crowd favorite Jure Kosir clocked only the seventh fastest time, failing to repeat the victory he clinched here in a World Cup slalom.

The overall World Cup leader, Hermann Maier of Austria, traditionally skips slaloms and didn't take part in the race.