Road To The Olympic Games

Canadian alpine team off to slow start

Canada's alpine ski team was shut out of the medals at the Bombardier Lake Louise World Cup for the first time in five years.

Men's group on the right track: Riml

Canada's alpine ski team was shut out of the medals at the Bombardier Lake Louise World Cup for the first time in five years.

Their only home stop on the alpine World Cup circuit has been where Canadian skiers draw confidence for the rest of the season. While the men showed promise of better results, it's going to be a tough year for the women's speed team.

Marie-Michele Gagnon of Lac-Etchimen, Que., was the only Canadian to crack the top-30 in any of the three women's races as she was 27th in Sunday's super-G.

The men raced at Louise the week before the women. Calgary's Jan Hudec was 11th in downhill for Canada's best result. The men's speed team lacked preparation, according to Alpine Canada athletic director Patrick Riml.

Their training camp in Chile was cut short by poor weather conditions and a substitute site in New Zealand wasn't much better as they faced constant snowstorms, he said.

"We definitely were missing out on time on snow and getting equipment figured out and the set-up with the boots and bindings," Riml said.

Canada had two men in the top-15 in the downhill and three in the top 20 in the super-G at Lake Louise. Robbie Dixon of Whistler, B.C., was eighth in Saturday's super-G in Beaver Creek, Colo.

"For the guys, I think it's just a matter of time for them to be on the podium," Riml said.

The women's speed team lacks depth with Emily Brydon's retirement and knee injuries to Kelly VanderBeek and Larisa Yurkiw.

Janyk, 30, is the only veteran among teammates 22-year-old or younger. She too, lacked preparation for Lake Louise, as a bone bruise in her leg kept from speed training in September.

Janyk finished in the top 15 in all three races last year at Lake Louise, including fourth place in one of the downhills. But her eyes filled with tears Sunday as she struggle to pinpoint why she did not finish in the top-30 in either the two downhills or the super-G.

"When we watch video the last two days, it looked like I hit the flats and lost speed so perhaps it's something I'm doing on my skis that will take some time to work with," she mused.

"This coming week, we've got some training and we'll really look at my skis and boots and my position on the skis and that kind of stuff and hopefully be able to take something different into the next races I can work with. The key is to just keep believing."

Janyk heads to St. Moritz, Switzerland, for super-G and giant slalom races next weekend with 21-year-old Gagnon and 22-year-old Marie-Pier Prefontaine of Mon Saint-Sauveur, Que. Janyk will then race a downhill in Val-d'Isere, France.

"The nice thing is tomorrow I'll be getting on a plane and changing continents and I can really leave this behind and just start from a clean slate next week," Janyk said.

The men's and women's technical teams are showing potential in slalom and giant slalom, Riml said. Janyk's brother Michael is a medal contender in World Cup slalom.

But the men's speed team is expected to carry the freight on the Canada's alpine team this winter in medals won. After Lake Louise, Canada's skiers are still looking for their first World Cup podium.

"I don't want to make any excuses," Riml said. "I would say on the women's side Britt is missing a big chunk of the preparation getting the equipment dialled in.

"The guys are on the right track. it just didn't work out here. The guys want to show the people how good they are and it just didn't work out this year. I'm not too worried about it going forward. They're going to be competitive."

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