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Austria’s Raich makes it three in a row

Raich takes a turn on his way to the slalom victory in Schladming Keystone

Austria's Benjamin Raich won his third straight World Cup slalom race in a row on home snow at Schladming on Tuesday, virtually guaranteeing himself a place at the upcoming world championships.

The 22-year-old Raich, who won the last two slaloms in Wengen, Switzerland, and Kitzbühel, Austria, twisted his way down the floodlit Planai course in 1 minute, 50.54 seconds to complete the hattrick.

Hans-Peter Buraas was runner-up in 1:51.13 for his second podium finish in three days, the Norwegian placing third in Sunday’s slalom in Kitzbühel.

Sixth after the opening leg, Slovenia’s Mitja Kunc, finished third in 1:51.41 after a brilliant second leg to climb the podium for the first time this season.

With the Austrian team waiting until the last moment to makes its selection for its world championship squad, the competitive edge was clearly visible, with three Austrians finishing in the top three. Kilian Albrecht was fourth in 1:51.63, followed by Heinz Schilchegger, the winner of the opening slalom race in Park City, Utah, who was fifth in 1:51.70.

At 16th on 1:52.74, Didier Plaschy was the top-placed Swiss, just over two seconds behind the leader in the final standings. Michael von Grünigen failed to qualify for the race’s second descent, while Urs Imboden was eliminated.

Von Grünigen drops two places, to 15th, in the slalom rankings, while Imboden is down one to 16th.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR