Mon, Jan 17, 2011 - Page 20 News List

In-form Croatian Kostelic wins, extends overall lead

AFP, WENGEN, SWITZERLAND

Austria’s Reinfried Herbst clears a gate during the first run of the men’s World Cup slalom in Wengen, Switzerland, yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Croatian skier Ivica Kostelic won the men’s World Cup slalom in Wengen, Switzerland, yesterday beating Austria’s Marcel Hirscher and Jean-Baptiste Grange of France.

It was the in-form Kostelic’s third win in the last four World Cup races and it extended the 31-year-old’s lead in the overall World Cup standings — 215 points ahead of Norway’s Aksel-Lund Svindal — after his 15th career World Cup victory.

While Svindal failed to qualify for the second leg, Kostelic was at ease on a course where he has tasted victory twice before in the slalom.

Kostelic timed 1 minute, 45.28 seconds, beating Hirscher and Grange by 0.93 seconds and 0.98 seconds respectively.

For Grange, it was a welcome return to form ahead of next month’s world championships in the German resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, as he recorded his first podium finish since winning in Levi, Finland, in the middle of November.

On Saturday, Austria’s Klaus Kroll spoiled Swiss hopes of a home victory when he won the World Cup downhill ahead of local pair Didier Cuche and Carlo Janka.

The 30-year-old sped down the 4,450m-long course, the longest on the circuit, in 2 minutes, 31.28 seconds to achieve his third World Cup success two years after his last win at Kvitfjell, Norway, in March 2009.

Cuche missed out for the third time on a home victory by just 0.14 seconds after also taking the runners-up spot in 2007 and 2008.

Janka achieved his second podium finish in as many days after being runner-up in Friday’s super-combined.

“I wasn’t thinking about victory,” Kroll said. “I was tired during the training runs. After my fall in Bormio, I wasn’t feeling too good. I really like Wengen, but the fact is that up until now I’ve never had good results here.”

Germany’s Stephan Keppler, 27, was evacuated by helicopter after crashing out. He was later found to have damaged his left knee and ankle ligaments, and he returned to Germany.

Swedish veteran Patrik Jaerbyn, 41, was not so lucky. He had to spend a night in hospital in Interlaken for observation after suffering concussion following a fall.

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