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Austrians sweep slalom in Wengen

Benjamin Raich on his way to victory at Wengen

(Keystone)

Austrian skiers dominated the World Cup men's slalom ski race in Wengen on Sunday, taking the top five places.

Benjamin Raich overcame the foggy conditions to win the event in a combined time of one minute 44.42 seconds.

His compatriots Rainer Schoenfelder(1:45:71) and Mario Matt (1:46:07) took second and third places respectively.

Raich's victory was his first of the season, his sixth overall in World Cup races and, as he told swissinfo afterwards, one of the toughest of his career so far.

"It was very difficult," he said. "Not only with the conditions but also because of the steepness of the slope here. The visibility was bad on the second run, but I did very well and I'm very happy with this result."

Austrian skiers also took fourth and fifth positions. The best placed Swiss were Urs Imboden (11th) and Michael von Grünigen (13th).

While Imboden was very happy with one of the best performances of his career, the more experienced Von Grünigen was unable to hide his frustration, slamming his poles into the snow at the finishing area.

"I'm not happy with how I raced," he told swissinfo a few moments later. "I dropped a number of positions and that's not good enough."

Asked how the conditions had affected his performance, Von Grünigen pointed out that the bad weather had been the same for everybody.

The slalom was the only one of three sceheduled races to be run at Wengen over the weekend. The world famous Lauberhorn downhill had to be cancelled because of heavy fog on Saturday.

by Mark Ledsom

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