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Season's First Win for Jagge

Men's Night Slalom: Sestrière, Italy
December 14, 1998
Finn Christian Jagge (NOR)
Norway's Finn Christian Jagge celebrated his first success of the season in the now classic night slalom in Sestrière, Italy. Already a winner here last year, the 1992 Olympic Champion dominated rivals in the opening run. Even Austria's veteran Thomas Stangassinger, currently a strong leader in the slalom World Cup standings, could not grab the opportunity to prevent Jagge from enjoying another victory in Sestrière.

"I don't know what there is between Sestrière and myself...but I feel really strong here," said the racer from Oslo after his fifth World Cup win. "The conditions were good enough this time to help me ski at my best level."

The Winners
The battle between the 1992 and the 1994 slalom Olympic champions was particularly tough and exciting: both fought hard to reach the top of the podium. Only 29/100 of a second separated them in the first run won by Jagge, and 23/100 in the second run in which Stangassinger was faster. In fact, Stangassinger's aggressive skiing put him in the lead at the middle of the second run but he lost too much on the last flats on Jagge.

This result confirms Jagge's strong season start. He finished 4th in Park City after clocking the fastest time in the opening run. Then he was 7th in Aspen were he set the fastest time in the second leg— in fact he has won three out of six runs this winter.

"The race conditions were not so good in America as they are here in Sestrière... despite the warm weather they did a good job here," said Jagge after the race. "It's a very important result for me to prepare for the World's in Vail with great confidence."

Defending Champion Stangassinger (AUT)
The team of the "Attacking Wicking" showed their power today, with two months to go before the World Championships in Vail, Colorado in February, 1999. Six Norwegian skiers came among the top-11 despite the crashed of Olympic Champion Hans-Petter Burras and veteran Ole Kristian Furuseth.

The quiet Stangassinger, whose best result at Sestrière was a second place in 1994, couldn't be upset about loss to his friend Jagge. He was just happy to score his second podium in a row. Last year he only finished 17th here.

"I am not disappointed after my result from last year," he said. "I feel more consistent this winter and my skis are perfect. It's just fun to remain so fast despite my age..."

The 1994 bronze Olympic medal winner Jure Kosir reached his first podium on the World Cup tour since finishing 3rd in Lillehammer during the finals. Last year, he was the fastest skier on the slope here until just a few gates before the finish line when he straddled a gate. Kosir was 5th at the Olympics in Nagano in giant slalom. "I feel stronger and better motivated now since we have changed our staff during last Spring," said the 26-year-old racer from Slovenia. "I had no problem today — I hope it's the start of another great season".

France's Pierrick Bourgeat
France's Pierrick Bourgeat, the surprising winner in November in Park City, finished 4th confirming his potential as well as Italy's Giorgio Rocca, who bagged another top-10 finish despite his high start number of 67, proving the Italian team has found a new talent since Alberto Tomba.

No skier from North America qualified for the second run.

The next men's races will also take place in Italy: two downhills are scheduled on Friday and Saturday in Val Gardena, in northeastern Italy. A giant slalom runs Sunday in nearby Alta Badia, on the other side of the beautiful Dolomites. Then on Monday, in Innsbruck, Austria, on the famous "Patscherkofel" downhill run of the 1976 Olympics that the legendary Franz Klammer made famous, a Super-G will take place. This will be the last event before Christmas.

—Mountain Zone European Correspondent

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