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Janka claims emotional win in giant slalom

  • Story Highlights
  • Carlo Janka of Switzerland claims gold in giant slalom at world championships
  • Janka is close friend of Daniel Albrecht who is in hospital after recent accident
  • Austria's Benjamin Raich and American Ted Ligety take the silver and bronze
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(CNN) -- Switzerland's Carlo Janka kept his nerve to claim gold in the men's giant slalom at the alpine skiing world championships in Val d'Isere on Friday.

Janka confirmed his promise with a superb victory in the world championship giant slalom.

Janka confirmed his promise with a superb victory in the world championship giant slalom.

Janka had a commanding advantage after the first leg on the treacherous Bellevarde piste until a big mistake early in his second run looked to have dashed his gold chances.

But the 22-year-old recovered brilliantly on the lower part of the course to hold a 0.71 second advantage by the finish over reigning Olympic champion Benjamin Raich.

Janka's combined time of two minutes 18.82 seconds gave him a first gold at a major championships, his victory dedicated to team-mate Daniel Albrecht, who suffered serious injuries in a crash at Kitzbuehel.

Janka, a close friend of Albrecht, would have been heartened by the latest medical update from the hospital in Innsbruck which said he was making a good recovery after being awakened from a three-week induced coma.

Janka, who had already claimed bronze in the downhill at the championships, held a 0.48 second advantage over Raich after a blistering first leg of one minute 8.25 seconds with giant slalom specialist Max Blardone of Italy in third.

"In the race, I didn't really have the impression I was going fast, I was only hoping not to lose too much time on Ted Ligety," Janka told the official championships Web site.

"Once in the finish area, I realized I had done a very good time and was therefore reassured. I really feel good on this slope, especially after having won here, last December, but the racing conditions were quite different today notably because of the aggressiveness of the snow due to the cold temperatures."

Bladorne failed to maintain his challenge in the second leg with American Ligety, ninth fastest from the first run, emerging as the main threat to the top two.

Raich, who was winning Austria's first men's medal of a disappointing championships, edged inside the American's time, but Janka survived his wobble to stay in pole position.

Reigning giant slalom world champion Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway finished ninth, while American hope Bode Miller never recovered from a slow first run and skied out again second time down.

Men's competition at the championships concludes on Sunday with the slalom, with home hope Jean-Baptiste Grange favorite.

He finished seventh in the GS in a solid if unspectacular display.

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