Roth, Vinokur Show Promise at Prague World Cup

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For the first time in memory, two American men are within reach of the podium at the World Cup competition level. In the Czech capital of Prague last weekend, Cody Roth, 20, took 14th overall, his best finish since a sixth place at Imst, Austria, in May. The young New Mexican climber is ranked 22nd in the World Cup standings in his first year of competing. Veteran international competitor Vadim Vinokur, meanwhile, finished a strong 17th, his best finish since taking 15th at Lecco, Italy, in June. Both men have already proved that, on any given day, they could make the finals. Indeed, overall World Cup leader Alex Chabot of France was right there with them—he had a disastrous event (by his standards) and finished 15th, giving a second victory in a row to Ramón Julián Puigblanque of Spain. With four World Cups to go in 2003, the Spanish climber has moved within striking distance of Chabot, winner of the last two World Cup titles, although he likely would have to beat the French climber at every event to win the overall prize. Among the women, Sandrine Levet of France returned to the top of the podium, beating upstart Angela Eiter of Austria. Belgian Muriel Sarkany, ranked first in the overall standings, finished fifth.