Croatia’s reigning World Cup overall champion, Ivica Kostelic, won the men’s slalom staged under floodlights in Flachau, Austria, on Wednesday for his second success of the season.
Kostelic, who takes over at the top of this season’s standings, timed 1 minute, 48.94 seconds to beat Sweden’s Andre Myhrer by .07 seconds and Italy’s Christian Deville (0.09 seconds) for his 20th World Cup win.
Marcel Hirscher of Austria, leading the overall World Cup standings up to this race, failed to finish the second leg after trailing Kostelic by 1.27 seconds after the first run.
The 22-year-old was having a rare off night in a season that has seen him pick up two wins and make the podium twice.
Kostelic, who underwent knee surgery in April, was adding this to his win in the season-opening slalom in Beaver Creek, Colorado. He ensured the win in the first leg, conserving his lead in the second with fifth place.
“It may not be the toughest slope in the World Cup, but it’s not the easiest either,” he said. “I tried to relax on the second run and when I saw that there was only a .07-second margin of victory, I said to myself that my victory was due to a certain amount of luck.”
For Deville, this was only the second time that he had made the podium.
“I watched the women race here on Tuesday and after that I wanted to go on the attack. Finally I’ve managed to give myself a lovely Christmas present,” Deville said.
France’s world champion, Jean-Baptiste Grange, came in seventh as he gradually picks up the pace after his return from serious injury.
The men’s alpine skiing calendar takes a short break for Christmas, returning on Dec. 27 for the downhill in Bormio, Italy, with the women returning with a giant slalom in Linz, Austria, 24 hours later.