Kostelic wins World Cup slalom in Austria

Posted Dec. 21, 2011, at 8:36 p.m.

FLACHAU, Austria — Defending overall champion Ivica Kostelic used two error-free runs in heavy snowfall to win a night slalom Wednesday for his 20th career World Cup victory.

The Croat led after the first run and finished in a combined time of 1 minute, 48.94 seconds to beat Andre Myhrer of Sweden by 0.07 seconds. Cristian Deville of Italy was another 0.02 behind in third.

“Two days ago (after the slalom) in Alta Badia I was very disappointed to miss second place by just 0.17,” Kostelic said. “But the wheel of fortune always keeps turning, and today I was the lucky one. But I must also say that I had two good runs.”

Kostelic led Deville by 0.14 seconds and Myhrer by 0.35 going into the final run but lost time as the course was made more difficult by the increasing number of ruts in the snow.

“I did not know the times of the others when I started. I just focused on my run,” said Kostelic, who beat Deville for his first win of the season in Beaver Creek, Colo., earlier this month.

Marcel Hirscher of Austria failed to finish his second run after straddling a gate but remained in the lead of the overall standings with 425 points. Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal is second with 416 followed by American Ted Ligety with 385.

Hirscher was a disappointing 13th after the opening run.

“I can’t explain this. For me, my run was good so I was surprised to see my time,” Hirscher said.

Ligety, who was 10th in Alta Badia, Italy, two days ago, failed to qualify for the second run. The world GS champion made a mistake at the third gate and again lost speed at the bottom section to finish 2.55 seconds off the lead.

World champion Jean-Baptiste Grange of France struggled on both runs and was 1.08 behind in seventh, and Olympic champion Giuliano Razzoli of Italy skied out after a few gates in his first run.

Nolan Kasper, who took fourth in Beaver Creek, placed 26th, 3.43 behind Kostelic.

“I made a few mistakes but … it’s a pretty easy hill,” the American said after his first run. “You have to be charging.”

Bode Miller skied out in a right turn early in his first run after hitting a gate with his left ski.

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