Raich wins World Cup super-combi

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VAL D'ISERE, France (AP) -- Benjamin Raich of Austria won the World Cup super-combi ski race Friday, beating Jean-Baptiste Grange of France after a tricky slalom run.

Marcel Hirscher of Austria was third on the tough Face de Bellevarde course. Ivica Kostelic of Croatia lost his balance and Ted Ligety of the United States skied too wide on two gates to finish out of the top 10.

In the super-G, defending champion Bode Miller mistimed a gate near the midsection, spinning around a pole before sitting down. Overall World Cup leader Aksel Lund Svindal also failed to finish the first run.

Raich finished in 51.07 seconds for a combined time of 2 minutes, 2.48 seconds.

Earlier Friday, Carlo Janka of Switzerland won the super-G to take the lead ahead of John Kucera of Canada and Kostelic. Neither challenged in the slalom.

Raich and Ligety, the reigning giant slalom champion, were tied for fourth after the super-G.

Janka had an unofficial time of 1:11 on the super-G, while Kucera clocked 1:11.21 and Kostelic 1:11.36.

The Face de Bellevarde course was used at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, and will be used again at next year's world championships in Val d'Isere.

"It's really tight, technical; it's very difficult, you have to fight hard all the way," Kucera said. "You're not going to feel good, so you just have to be quick on your feet."

It was the first time a super-G had been held on Bellevarde since Albertville. Many skiers struggled, with 16 of the first 45 racers failing to complete the course.

"No one really knew what to expect," Kucera said. "I was the first guy (to finish). Essentially, we were skiing blind. Just try to see how it goes."

Hermann Maier of Austria placed 20th.

Originally scheduled for Dec. 4 in Beaver Creek, Colo., the super-combi was canceled after 7 inches of snow fell at the Colorado resort overnight.

On Friday, Svindal took too many risks and skied off course. He came to Val d'Isere in strong form having won the World Cup super-G in Beaver Creek on Saturday, a day after the Norwegian won the downhill title on the same Birds of Prey course.