Kostelic of Croatia wins World Cup slalom title
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland – World Cup overall champion Ivica Kostelic added the slalom title on Saturday, and Guiliano Razzoli won the final race in thick fog.
Kostelic placed 18th, but his closest rivals failed to take advantage. Jean-Baptiste Grange of France skied out in the first run, and Andre Myhrer of Sweden needed to win the race was sixth in rapidly worsening visibility.
As usual, Kostelic was cheered by hundreds of Croatian supporters in the finish-area grandstands, many waving flags and wearing national team soccer jerseys.
However, the thick fog meant spectators could hardly see the racers cross the finish line, or even the television pictures on a giant screen.
Kostelic’s second slalom title comes nine years after the first in his injury-plagued career. With good health this season, Kostelic delivered a stunning streak of results. He had seven victories in January, three in slalom events.
Kostelic also was the runaway winner in the overall standings, and won the super-combined title.
Razzoli’s two-run time of 1 minute, 25.72 seconds sealed his first victory since his gold medal performance in slalom at the Vancouver Olympics 13 months ago. Razzoli finished 0.03 seconds ahead of first-run leader Mario Matt of Austria, who was seeking his third straight win. Felix Neureuther of Germany was third.
The men’s slalom had been delayed because of the weather conditions and took the starting time slots previously allocated to the women’s giant slalom.
LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland (AP) – Ted Ligety of the United States clinched the World Cup giant slalom title on Friday after the race was canceled because of poor weather, adding to the world championships gold medal he earned last month.
Ligety won his third World Cup crystal globe trophy in four years, beating Phil Mahre’s U.S. men’s record of two giant slalom titles in 1982 and ’83. Ligety led the standings all season, and finished 77 points ahead of Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway after six races.
“Having accomplished both of these things is pretty awesome,” Ligety told The Associated Press. “I definitely wanted to get the medal. And you’re always wanting to go for the season’s title because it’s a better indicator of your skiing.”
His eight career giant slalom race wins in the World Cup trails teammate Bode Miller, the 2004 discipline champion, who has nine.
Ligety opened the season with a three-win streak at Beaver Creek, Colo.; Val d’Isere, France; and Alta Badia, Italy. He was also third, trailing by just 0.12 seconds, at Kranjska Gora, Slovenia.
“Winning titles is a big deal. These are the things you are remembered by and a measure of your consistency,” Ligety said.
Ligety dominated in many races with a clean, aggressive style of skiing. In Alta Badia, he knocked Olympic champion Carlo Janka out of the lead with a run that had the Swiss racer visibly astonished at the American’s time.
“I was definitely happy with the way I won it this year,” Ligety said. “Last year, I didn’t feel like I skied all that amazingly. This time, I skied the way I wanted to.”
Race officials called off the giant slalom at 7 a.m. local time after struggling with persistent rain and warm temperatures. Ligety was sleeping when he received news of his title from U.S. men’s ski team head coach Sasha Rearick.
“I woke up to a text from Sasha – then rolled over and went back to sleep. The coaches then asked me to come down for a little champagne,” he said.
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Perhaps, Radamus’ brief moment on top was a preview of coming attractions. He hopes so. Radamus certainly got the season off to a great start by finishing 27th in the opener.