Lizeroux wins men’s World Cup slalom |

Lizeroux wins men’s World Cup slalom

Eric Willemsen
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
Julien Lizeroux, of France, negotiates a gate on his way to winning an alpine ski, men's World Cup slalom race, in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, Sunday, March 1, 2009. (AP Photo/Armando Trovati)

KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia ” Julien Lizeroux of France won a men’s World Cup slalom Sunday for his second victory of the season, and Ivica Kostelic of Croatia finished 11th and retained a narrow lead in the overall standings.

American Ted Ligety, who won Saturday’s giant slalom, skied out on the first run.

Lizeroux finished in a combined time of 1 minute, 40.11 seconds to beat Giuliano Razzoli of Italy, who led after the opening run, by 0.34 seconds. Felix Neureuther of Germany was 0.56 back in third.

Ligety was 0.08 seconds faster than the leader at the first intermediate time of the opening run but straddled a gate.

“I knew I was skiing well. That’s how I have been feeling in training,” Ligety said. “It’s just that it hasn’t happened in the race in a while. Too bad I couldn’t make it to the finish. At least I know I am fast. I guess there is some confidence to be gained out of that.”

The 29-year-old Lizeroux never had a World Cup podium finish until he earned his maiden win in Kitzbuehel, Austria, in January.

“Getting my first win was great, but to get another one so soon makes it an unbelievable season for me,” said Lizeroux, who won silver in slalom at the world championships on his home track at Val d’Isere last month.

Lizeroux, fourth after the opening leg, had a near-perfect second run. He almost lost balance by leaning backward too much at the steep final part of the Podkoren course, but quickly regained the right line.

“The most difficult thing is to get that second win, so it’s an amazing feeling,” the Frenchman said. “My coach told me before the second run that it would all come down to confidence. ‘You are the strongest in the head, so go for it,’ he said.”

Kostelic posted the fastest second-run time to climb from 26th to 11th, which earned him just enough points to stay in the overall lead with 837 points. Benjamin Raich of Austria, who was fourth, trails the Croat by only two points.

Jean-Baptiste Grange of France, who leads the slalom standings, fell after misjudging a turn but quickly got up again to finish the race in 29th. Grange is third in the overall standings with 777 points.

Razzoli was not too disappointed with missing out on what would have been his first World Cup victory.

“Obviously you want to win a race you lead after the first run,” said Razzoli, whose best result so far was third at a slalom in Zagreb, Croatia, in January. “But to get two podium finishes in less than two months just makes me very happy.”

Defending overall champion Bode Miller skipped the races in Slovenia to rest and to recover from an ankle injury. He was expected to return to the World Cup circuit in Kvitfjell, Norway, next week, where two downhills and a super G race are scheduled.

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