Ivica Kostelic wins WC slalom
The Associated Press
ADELBODEN, Switzerland – Ivica Kostelic of Croatia completed an excellent week by winning a World Cup slalom Sunday to move into first in the overall standings.
Kostelic overcame worsening conditions in the afternoon to defend his big lead from the morning run and finish in a combined two-leg time of 1 minute, 50.90 seconds.
“I’ve never lost a race after leading in the first run,” Kostelic said. “It’s a good feeling that you’re winning, it gives me strength.”
Marcel Hirscher of Austria was runner-up, 0.26 seconds back after being the only racer within 1.3 seconds of Kostelic in the first run.
Austria’s Reinfried Herbst, the defending World Cup slalom champion, trailed Kostelic by 1.29 in third.
Bode Miller and Ted Ligety skied out on the first run, but American teammate Will Brandenburg scored his first World Cup points by finishing 24th.
The 24-year-old from Spokane, Wash. – who placed 10th in the Olympic super-combined won by Miller last February – was 4.19 behind Kostelic.
Ligety remained fifth in the overall points.
“I was surprised by how fast it was up top and was making small mistakes turn after turn,” he said.
Ligety said snow conditions were difficult after course workers heavily salted the course to preserve Saturday’s showpiece race.
“Yesterday they did a really good job. Today, the continuing warm and the salt has rotted it out,” he said.
Kostelic has soared to the top of the overall and slalom standings after an impressive eight-day spell.
The 31-year-old slalom specialist won the parallel slalom in Munich last Sunday and placed second in his home slalom at Zagreb on Thursday.
“Munich was a real kicker for me. I feel pretty good right now,” said Kostelic, looking ahead to the second half of the World Cup season. “It’s a long way to go but it’s better to be in front than be in the back.”
He also picked up points with a fifth-place finish in the classic Adelboden giant slalom Saturday. He was 19th after the first run.
Kostelic has 504 points, 69 ahead of Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal, who skipped the slalom after tying for victory Saturday despite a heavy cold.
Silvan Zurbriggen of Switzerland was 10th Sunday and climbed into third overall.
Kostelic’s victory was his 13th in World Cup events and 10th in slalom.
The Olympic silver medalist in slalom holds a 49-point lead in the discipline standings over Andre Myhrer, who won in Zagreb. The Swede placed 16th Sunday after a tough second run.
High-ranked slalom specialists who failed to put down a clean first run included Julien Lizeroux and Jean-Baptiste Grange of France, and the past two Olympic champions, Giuliano Razzoli of Italy and Austria’s Benjamin Raich.
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