The “Bomba” is back.
Returning to his spectacular form, Italy’s Alberto Tomba turned in a dynamic second run today to win the first European slalom of the men’s World Cup season.
Tomba, in winning his 14th World Cup slalom, trailed Ole Christian Furuseth by one second after the first heat before beating the Norwegian with the same aggressive and powerful style which earned him the nickname “The Bomb” during his heyday in 1988.
Apparently unaffected by falling snow--somewhat unusual after two almost snowless winters--Tomba completed the race in the winning time of 2 minutes, 7.41 seconds. Nobody matched Tomba’s 1:02.56 in the second heat.
Furuseth finished 0.55 seconds behind the Italian in the aggregate time and said, “Tomba was super today.
“I was cautious in the second heat. I had to take risks to beat Alberto. However, I am not displeased with a second place,” Furuseth said.
Tomba said he was overjoyed at winning in front of the home fans.
He was given noisy, soccer-style support with horns and trumpets as he skied to victory down the Kandahar course, and was mobbed by fans when he approached the podium for the awards ceremony.
Tomba explained that his first-heat gap behind Furuseth resulted from wrong skis and two mistakes at the top of the course.
“In the second run I used the right skis, the new ones, and at last I skied the way I wanted--that’s almost perfectly,” Tomba said.
The victory put Tomba atop the overall World Cup standings with 47 points out of five races. France’s Franck Piccard, a specialist in fast disciplines of downhill and supergiant slalom who had led the standings, dropped to second with 42 points. Furuseth moved into fourth place with 38 points.
Franz Heinzer of Switzerland, a downhiller, was third with 40 points.
“I am not thinking of the overall title right now,” said Tomba. “I could be a one-day leader as downhill specialists will pocket points in the next few races. I will have clearer ideas about my World Cup chances in January.”
He will next compete in a giant slalom Sunday in Val Badia, in northern Italy. That race will follow two consecutive downhills in nearby Val Gardena Friday and Saturday.
Austrian and German slalom aces were the big losers in today’s race.
World slalom champion Rudolf Nierlich finished third, 1.77 seconds behind Tomba, while Armin Bittner lagged fifth, with a gap of 2.37 seconds.
U.S. and Canadian skiers did poorly. Americans Felix McGrath, Tiger Shaw and Bob Ormsby did not qualify for the second heat while Canadian Alain Villiard fell in the final run.