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Chamonix: Maier skips slalom in protest

Chamonix: Maier skips slalom in protest{mosimage}CHAMONIX, France – Hermann Maier sat a promising third after the downhill leg of a men’s World Cup super combi on Friday, but withdrew from the race to protest what he called an “unfair” setup.

Maier, who had planned a rare slalom appearance to prepare for the possibility of racing the Olympic combined, finished a strong 1:41.88 in the downhill leg.

But the Austrian decided to withdraw from the race after discovering that the downhill was shortened by 530 meters and the slalom leg had 64 gates.

“It is very, very old-fashioned,” Maier said. “In 1950s it was nearly the same, but back then it had a much longer downhill and the slalom was different, there was more space between the gates.

“They have to think about it. They should change it, especially here, it’s not good. It’s a very long slalom and short downhill.

“I don’t understand it. It looks like they try to get two slalom runs in one now. It’s not good for downhillers. Slalom skiers have a big advantage.

“It makes me not satisfied.”

Maier is considering racing the Olympic traditional combined in Sestriere, following the bruising crash of teammate Mario Matt in training Wednesday. Matt, who somersaulted in the air and landed heavily, suffered no long-term injuries but has a bad case of shinbang that could force him out of the Olympics.

Three of the four Austrian berths have already been locked up by overall World Cup leader Benjamin Raich, Michael Walchhofer and Rainer Schoenfelder. Maier could snatch the fourth spot.

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