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St. Moritz: Kostelic tops Paerson in super combi

St. Moritz: Kostelic tops Paerson in super combiST. MORITZ, Switzerland Overall World Cup leader Janica Kostelic completed her upward trajectory of results this weekend, winning an event seemingly tailor-made for her skills – the super combined.

Following a relatively slow start to the weekend’s trifecta of events that saw Kostelic finish an unsatisfactory 15th in Friday’s super G, the cool-headed Croatian went on a roll, starting with yesterday’s third-place downhill result and culminating with Sunday’s easy-looking victory.

After the downhill portion of the race was completed in the morning, Kostelic sat in second, behind Sweden’s Anja Paerson. Kostelic then handled the afternoon’s slalom with speedy aplomb, weaving clean, tight turns in and out of the gates dotting the Rominger Sprung’s daunting face.

‘I am happy. I was feeling OK, [but] wasn’t skiing that well. Two-tenths behind Anja coming into a slalom is a lot’ said a nonchalant Kostelic. ‘But the slalom was tricky and she made a mistake.’

A mistake indeed. After winning the downhill leg and holding the fastest intermediate split halfway through the slalom, Paerson looked poised for victory. But then a critical, hip-checking bobble on the run’s final pitch threw her wide and off line, relegating her to second place.

‘It’s been a long day. I was tired in the slalom. My goal was to win today, so I am not so happy’ the Swede told reporters. ‘[Still], I am happy I am down. It was pretty close. I was down on the snow with my butt.’

After a disappointing past two days, Team USA rebounded with Lindsey Kildow and Julia Mancuso’s respective third- and ninth-place finishes. Though a series of mid-course bumps left Kildow lagging in ninth place following the downhill portion, the Vail skier responded with a smooth run in the slalom, propelling her to the podium.

‘I am really happy with my slalom right now. It’s kind of picking up what I am lacking in downhill’ said Kildow in the finish arena. ‘I didn’t think I could beat [slalom specialists such as] Hosp and those girls when they actually beat me in the downhill. I am really happy with it. It [feels] really good to kind of have a good race.’

While Kildow made up for lost time in the slalom, Mancuso did quite the opposite. Sitting in sixth place after the morning’s downhill, a mid-course mistake in the slalom prevented a run at the podium.

‘I almost went out in the slalom, so [today] could have been better, but it was a good downhill’ the Squaw Valley native said with a laidback laugh. ‘[But] I think just my skiing is going well right now, so I am waiting for the luck to play in my favor. I am feeling confident in that way.’

The day was marred by a near-disastrous accident. A miscommunication between course workers left one aluminum-shovel-wielding man standing in the middle of the downhill track as Michaela Dorfmeister rounded a bend in the track. Luckily, the skilled Austrian squeezed between the man and the gate and still managed to cross the finish with the fifth fastest time.

‘We are in high-speed events and nobody should make a mistake, [but] I am happy I was healthy in the bottom’ Dorfmeister told reporters.

Women’s combined
St. Moritz, Switzerland
Jan. 22, 2006

1. Janica Kostelic, CRO 2:15.74
2. Anja Paerson, SWE    2:16.19
3. Lindsey Kildow, USA  2:17.48
4. Nicole Hosp, AUT     2:17.54
5. Marlies Schild, AUT  2:17.99
6. Kathrin Zettel, AUT  2:18.27
7. Janette Hargin, SWE  2:18.61
8. Nike Bent, SWE       2:18.80
9. Julia Mancuso, USA   2:19.07
10. Johanna Schnarf, ITA        2:19.21
11. Andreas Fischbacher, AUT    2:19.23
12. Martina Ertl-Renz, GER      2:19.27
13. Jessica Lindell-Vikarby, SWE        2:19.32
14. Emily Brydon, CAN   2:19.46
15. Jessica Puenchera, SUI      2:19.49
16. Daniela Merighetti, ITA     2:19.54
17. Michaela Dorfmeister, AUT   2:19.58
18. Sarka Zahrobska, CZE        2:19.76
19. Allison Forsyth, CAN        2:19.84
20. Fanny Chmelar, GER  2:20.04
21. Monika Bergmann-Schmuderer, GER     2:20.09
22. Gina Stechert, GER  2:20.17
23. Nika Fleiss, CRO    2:20.42
24. Anne-Sophie Barthet, FRA    2:20.57
25. Kaylin Richardson, USA      2:20.82
26. Martina Schild, SLO 2:20.85
27. Angelika Gruener, ITA       2:20.88
28. Catherine Borghi, SUI       2:21.02
29. Marie Marchand-Avier, FRA   2:21.12
30. Urska Rabic, SLO    2:21.57
Other North Americans:
31. Caroline Lalive, USA 2:21.59
33. Kelly Vanderbeek, CAN 2:22.39
34. Stacey Cook, USA 2:22.93
35. Brigitte Acton, CAN 2:22.94
36. Shona Rubens, CAN 2:23.22
DNF SL: Resi Stiegler, USA.

THE SCOOP

By Hank McKee

Equipment
Women’s combined, St. Moritz, Jan. 22, 2006

Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1. Kostelic, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
2. Paerson, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
3. Kildow, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
4. Hosp, Volkl/Fischer/Marker
5. Schild, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
6. Zettel, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
7. Hargin, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
8. Bent, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
9. Mancuso, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
10. Schnarf, Volkl/Tecnica/Marker

Women’s combined, St. Moritz, Switzerland, Jan. 22, 2006. … It is the 21st event of the women’s 34 race, two combined World Cup schedule. … It is the first of two combineds and the final event of the three-race set at St. Moritz.

It is the 25th career win for Janica Kostelic. … Her fifth in combined. … It is her fourth result of the season and first in combined. … She also has a win this season in DH (Bad Kleinkirchheim Jan. 14) in GS (Spindleruv Mlyn Dec. 21) and in SG (Bad Kleinkirchheim Jan. 15). … She now matches Maria Walliser on the all-time World Cup victory list in 17th (ninth among women). … She is tied for fourth among women on the all-time combined win list with Marie Therese Nadig and trails Hanni Wenzel (8), Annemarie Moser-Proell (7), and Brigitte Oertli (7). … She was second in the DH and won the slalom.

It is the 62nd career podium for Anja Paerson. … Her seventh of the season. … It is her second career combined podium the other Feb. 27, 2005, at San Sicario in an event Kostelic also won. … She was first in DH and fifth SL.

It is the 10th career podium for Lindsey Kildow. … Her first in combined. … It is her third podium of the season after two DH wins (Lake Louise and Val d’Isere). … She was ninth in DH and fourth in SL.

It is the fourth top 10 of the season for Julia Mancuso. … Each in a different discipline. … It is her third-best career combined result. … She was 5th in DH and 22nd in SL.
 … It is the fifth-best result of the season for Emily Brydon. … It is her second career combined result, the other a third at San Sicario behind Kostelic and Paerson. … She was 11th in DH and 19th in SL. … It is the first ever combined result for Allison Forsyth and her 10th scoring result of the season. … She was 12th in DH and 21st in SL. … It is the third career and second seasonal scoring result for Kaylin Richardson. … Caroline Lalive finished 31st, missing a point by two-hundredths of a second.

Kostelic pads her lead in the World Cup overall standings, leading 1,158-944 over Michaela Dorfmeister (17th in race). … Paerson is third at 801. … Kildow is the top American on the list in sixth at 594. … Combined standings reflect the day’s result: Kostelic, Paerson, Kildow.

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