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Imboden grabs fifth place in slalom

Sunday's skiing action in America's Park City saw Switzerland's Urs Imboden register his best ever World Cup performance. The Graubünden skier put in an incredible performance during his second run to leap from 30th place to fifth.

Imboden's improvement over the two runs was the greatest ever recorded in the World Cup, surpassing last year's achievement by Austria's Benjamin Raich who won an event after finishing his first run in 23rd place.

After finishing less than two seconds behind Sunday's eventual winner, Heinz Schilchegger of Austria, Imboden was ecstatic.

"I was lucky to qualify in last place for the second run," he admitted. "But then, for the first time, I was able to show my true courage. I really believe that the end of the course saw me ski the best performance of my life."

Austria's Mario Matt took second to further strengthen his country's daunting start to the season, while Norway's Kjetil Andre Aamodt completed the podium line-up.

Switzerland's Michael von Grünigen was unable to match his efforts in winning Friday's giant slalom, ending Sunday's race in 14th place, but said he was reasonably satisfied given his lack of preparation for the slalom event.

"I didn't expect a great performance," he insisted, "with less than two days slalom training in my legs."

There was disappointment though for the Swiss slalom specialists, Didier Plaschy and Marco Casanova, who both failed to qualify for the second run.

Imboden's unexpected success and von Grünigen's triumph on Friday have lifted Switzerland's men up to second place in the early season standings, although Austria already have twice as many points as their Swiss rivals.

Sonja Nef's giant slalom win on Thursday has lifted the Swiss women into fifth place behind Austria, France, Sweden and Germany.

swissinfo with agencies

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