Skiing: Kostelic increases lead in cup standings

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The Independent Online

Ivica Kostelic of Croatia extended his runaway start to 2011, winning a men's World Cup slalom yesterday for his fourth victory in 15 days.

Kostelic had a combined two-run time of 1min, 45.28sec to stretch his lead in the World Cup overall and slalom standings.

The 31-year-old also won the super-combined here on Friday in his lifetime-best streak of form and results, which includes second and fifth-place finishes this year. "For sure, it's the best weekend of my career and I'm very happy it happened in Wengen," Kostelic said.

Marcel Hirscher of Austria led after the first run but finished 0.93sec behind in second place. Jean-Baptiste Grange of France was third, trailing Kostelic by 0.99sec.

"You really had to attack the second run," said Kostelic, who was 1.02sec faster than Hirscher in the second leg.

Kostelic started the year winning the invitation-only parallel slalom event at Munich. He added the slalom at nearby Adelboden a week ago, edging Hirscher again.

Each victory, worth 100 World Cup points, has carried Kostelic clear in the standings with half the season to run. He now has a 215-point advantage over Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal, who has suggested Kostelic is favoured to win his first season-long title.