Covili wins giant slalom title, von Gruenigen the final race - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

Covili wins giant slalom title, von Gruenigen the final race

FLACHAU, Austria (AP) _ France's Frederic Covili won the men's giant slalom World Cup crystal globe Sunday, denying Austrian Stephan Eberharter a four-title sweep this season.

Switzerland's Michael von Gruenigen won the finale race, an encouraging end to an injury-plagued season. It marked his 20th World Cup victory in the giant slalom.

Covili, a favorite who failed to medal at the Olympics, finished only fifth in the race but it was enough to protect his lead atop the discipline rankings which he led with 471 points.

Von Gruenigen, third after the opening leg, produced a scorching second effort down the artificially-hardened Griessenkar course to finish with a two-run combined time of 2 minutes, 41.12 seconds.

Austria's Benjamin Raich, leading after the first run, dropped to second in 2:41.25.

The result was enough to boost him into second place in the giant slalom rankings with 429 points.

Eberharter, the overall, downhill and super-G World Cup champion, placed third in 2:41.69. The 32-year-old Austrian remained in third in the year-end discipline rankings.

Eberharter, the giant slalom Olympic champion in Salt Lake City, needed to finish the race either first or second and have Covili fail to score any points. He also needed Switzerland's Didier Cuche to record only limited points.

Cuche had finished second in the opening leg and was in a position to dislodge Covili from the top of the rankings, but slipped to sixth after a disappointing final trip down.

American Bode Miller had a disastrous campaign and failed to finish in the top three spots of the overall rankings after making costly mistakes in both runs to place 18th in 1:43.92.

The 24-year-old American had left himself a whopping 1.30 seconds to make up in the second leg, nearly crashing out just three gates into the opening run but made one of his trademark recoveries to finish in seventh in 1:24.80.

In the next run, the double Olympic silver medalist had built a .68 lead on the top section of the course but skidded onto to his side and almost off course after the halfway split.
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