Tue, Jan 24, 2006 - Page 19 News List

Kostelic takes super-combi in Switzerland

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Janica Kostelic of Croatia on her way to winning a World Cup super-combined event in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on Sunday.

PHOTO: EPA

Janica Kostelic won a women's World Cup super-combi on Sunday, while Michaela Dorfmeister narrowly avoided a high-speed collision with a course worker.

Kostelic, who was in second place after the morning's downhill, delivered the fastest slalom to win the season's first of two super-combis in an aggregate time of 2 minutes, 15.74 seconds.

"During my downhill there was a lot of wind on top and the bottom I was not skiing real well," Kostelic said. "The slalom was really tricky but Anja [Paerson] did her mistake and lost lots of time and I guess I was lucky."

Paerson, the reigning overall World Cup champion, led after the downhill but settled for second after a mistake in the lower part of the slalom. She finished in 2:16.19.

"My goal was to win today so I'm not particularly satisfied," Paerson said. "I made a mistake in the slalom. I got my boot on the snow and touched down with my hand and butt, came up again but lost all the speed. I guess I should just be happy I made it down in second."

Lindsey Kildow of the United States was third in 2:17.48.

"I made a mistake at the bottom of the downhill," Kildow said. "I didn't think I had a chance to be on the podium after that.

"Slalom skiing is going really well so it made up for my downhill. I have a lot of confidence in my slalom. I trust my skis, trust myself and it's showing in my races. I skied aggressive in the slalom, taking chances and I was really fast so I'm happy about today," Kildow added.

Dorfmeister finished 17th after nearly crashing into a course worker who was holding a shovel in the downhill leg.

It was the second such incident in two days. In Saturday's downhill, Anne Marie Mueller of Norway nearly collided with an Italian trainer.

Dorfmeister was traveling at almost 80kph when she nearly ran into a course worker on her line. The experienced 32-year-old Austrian reacted quickly, lifting her right ski and swerving closer to the gate to avoid him.

"I had the right reaction," Dorfmeister said. "If I had another reaction maybe I would have crashed with him and someone would have died maybe."

Paerson covered her mouth with her hands as she watched Dorfmeister's run on the jumbo screen in the leader's box.

International Ski Federation rules allow skiers to rerun a race or leg if they are distracted by officials, jury members or course workers during their run, but they must stop immediately.

The course worker, or officials who instructed him, could potentially face sanctions.

"They are dealing with it," FIS general-secretary Sarah Lewis said. "It depends on the circumstance. They need to find out exactly what happened. It shows the importance of respecting instructions. This is the reason why access to the course is so limited and restricted -- because the risk is there."

Lewis said only Dorfmeister's quick reflexes prevented the kind of disaster that has happened before. In 2001, France's Regine Cavagnoud died from head injuries after slamming into German coach Markus Anwander during a training session on Austria's Pitztal glacier.

At the 1996 world championships, downhill racer Tatiana Lebedeva and an American ski official each broke legs in a collision.

Jean-Pierre Vidal gave his Olympic title defense a boost on Sunday after putting together two near-flawless runs to win a men's World Cup slalom -- his first victory in five years.

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