Kostelic gets slalom win; Hirscher claims the title
What suspense there was in the men's World Cup slalom at Kranjska Gora, Slovenia today (March 10) seemed to be over three skiers into the first run. With a pouring rain slowly transforming into thick, heavy flakes of snow, the first out of the start house, Alexis Pinturault, took advantage of the course preparation to put down a scintillating first run. The second man, overall and slalom standings lead Marcel Hirscher was struggling to stay in touch with Pinturault, falling behind by eight tenths when he uncharacteristically got caught out of balance and came to a virtual standstill before finishing more than two seconds behind the Frenchman.
It was the third man out of the start, German Felix Neureuther, that carried the last remaining hope of unseating Hirscher for the slalom title and the door appeared wide open to take the next to last step in that task. As he charged to put as much time as possible between he and the Austrian ace he straddled and was forced to ski out. Game over. Win, lose, or not earn a second run, Hirscher would win the slalom title.
As it turned out, two plus seconds behind Pinturault was good for eighth in the run as the course broke down dramatically. The defending slalom champ Andre Myhrer was the second fastest finisher 1.45 seconds behind. Ivica Kostelic, in third, was a full second and a half out. Four point eight earned a second run.
In the second heat, with snow abating back to rain, the huge lead proved too much for Pinturault to bear. He got caught in the back seat at the top of the steep finish pitch and could not complete the course. Hirscher made his now customary second run charge to maintain a string of slalom podiums that stretches back a full season (take out DNF's and DSQ's and it goes to January 2011) and the amazing Ivica Kostelic got his second win of the season since winning the Kitzbuehel combined.
“This is a wonderful feeling,” he said in the finish, “because it is not easy to stay at the top level in any sport these days and in slalom the competition is very dense.”
He said he never gave up focusing on winning despite the huge first run lead by the Frenchman. “I knew Alexis had to make a big mistake. I was focused on that.”
The win was a relief not only to Kostelic, but to the whole Croatian contingent which has all it's eggs in his 35 year old, oft abused basket. His sister Janica gave him a heartfelt hug in the finish and looked skyward in thanks as he crossed the line in the lead.
Third also went to a 30 something skier as Mario Matt, 33, got the points as a series of top contenders failed to match their first run efforts. Stefano Gross got way off line early and went from -.12 at the start to +2.06 at the first time. Guiliano Razzoli straddled where the course transitioned to the steep closing pitch. Jens Byggmark dropped behind early, regained a lead and then finished off the pace for fourth and Andre Myhrer steadily dropped time to Kostelic on his second trip down to the umbrella shrouded finish stands for sixth place. Fifth went to Reinfried Herbst who had the second fastest time of the second run. The fastest time was recorded, as it had been in the first run, by the first man out of the start, Swiss youngster Luca Aerni who finished the day in 12th.
Mike Janyk led the North Americans in 15th place. Ted Ligety finished 18th.
The slalom crown will go to Hirscher. The win was a veteran's reprieve.
by Hank McKee
Men's World Cup slalom, Kranjska Gora Slovenia, March 10, 2013
1 Kostelic, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
2 Hirscher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
3 Matt, Blizzard/Tecnica/Marker
4 Byggmark, Voelkl/Fischer/Marker
5 Herbst, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
6 Myhrer, Nordica/Nordica/Marker
7 Larsson, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
8 Yuasa, Hart/Dolomite/Look
9 Moelgg, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
10 Dopfer, Nordica/Nordica/Marker
Men's World Cup slalom, Kranjska Gora Slovenia, March 10, 2013. ... It is the final men's race of the regular World Cup season with four races remaining at World Cup Finals in Lenzerheide. ... It is the 32nd of 36 races on the schedule with no cancellations. ... The eighth of nine scheduled slaloms with two additional city event parallel events counting in the slalom standings. ... It is the 78th Cup race hosted by Kranjska Gora. ... the 40th slalom dating back to 1968.
It is the 26th career World Cup win for Ivica Kostelic. ... His 15th in slalom. ... It is his first slalom win since Jan. 15, 2012 at Wengen. ... It is ten years since his last win at Kranjska Gora. ... five years since his last podium at the site.
It is the 43rd career World Cup podium placing for Marcel Hirscher. ... His 21st in slalom. ... It is his eighth Cup podium scored at Kranjska Gora. ... third in slalom. ... It is his 18th podium of the season including two World Championship medal finishes (not counting the team event). ... He has finished on the podium in every slalom this season, winning five including Worlds.
It is the 39th career World Cup podium placing for Mario Matt. ... the 37th in slalom. ... It is his fifth podium scored at Kranjska Gora, the first since 2007. ... It is his fourth podium of the season including a third at World Championships. ... Three of those are third place finishes plus a second at Adelboden in slalom.
Michael Janyk places in the top 15 of a World Cup for the 38th time. ... the fifth time at Kranjska Gora. ... It is his third Cup slalom result of the season. ... It is the sixth scoring result in slalom for Ted Ligety this season.
Marcel Hirscher leads the World Cup overall standings 1375-1226 over Aksel Lund Svindal (did not race) with four races remaining. ... Ligety is third overall with 922pts and cannot win the title. ... Erik Guay (did not race) is the top Canadian overall in 18th place with 378pts. ... Hirscher leads the slalom standings 880-616 over Felix Neureuther (DNF 1st) and cannot be beaten for the title with one race remaining. ... Andre Myhrer (sixth in race) is third with 482pts. ... Ligety is top American in 15th with 143pts, Janyk is top Canadian in 35th with 39pts. ... Austria leads the men's Nations Cup 5627-3691 over Italy. ... France is third with 2977. ... The US is sixth with 1548 and Canada ninth with 896pts.
Kranjska Gora (SLO)
FIS World Cup
March 10, 2013
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||FIS Points|
|23||34||421669||HAUGEN Leif Kristian||1987||NOR||55.41||54.08||1:49.49||21.56|
|Disqualified 1st run|
|74||30149||SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier||1980||ARG|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|46||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA|
|38||193967||MUFFAT JEANDET Victor||1989||FRA|