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Austrians lead in slalom as skies clear over Wengen

The fog that put paid to this year's classic Lauberhorn race in Wengen lifted sufficiently on Sunday for the World Cup slalom event to get underway.

Austria's Benjamin Raich was in pole position following the first of the two slalom runs, with his compatriot Rainer Schönfelder four tenths of a second behind in second place.

Swiss giant slalom specialist Michael von Grünigen could yet bring some local cheer to the end of a miserable weekend. The Bernese Oberlander qualified comfortably for the second run, finishing the first run in ninth place.

A podium finish looks unlikely though, with Von Grünigen trailing third-placed Slovenian Mitja Kunc by more than eight tenths of a second.

Sunday's first run saw more disappointment for Switzerland's Didier Plaschy who crashed out for the fourth race in a row.

While organisers have been relieved that at least some skiing has been possible, the disappointment of the Lauberhorn's forced cancellation still lingers.

It was the third time since 1991 that the Lauberhorn downhill race - the longest on the World Cup circuit - has been called off because of bad weather.

The president of the Lauberhorn organising committee, Victor Gertsch, told swissinfo that an insurance policy of SFr1.8 million had been taken out to cover the possibility of bad weather forcing the cancellation of the weekend's events.

The organisers could, however, still face an additional bill of about SFr200,000.

swissinfo with agencies



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