Skiing: Kostelic sluices home to secure overall top spot

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The Independent Online

Ivica Kostelic of Croatia completed his excellent week by winning the latest slalom round in the World Cup in Adelboden in Switzerland to move to the top of the overall standings.

Kostelic defended his big lead from the morning run in worsening course and light conditions, and finished in a combined two-leg time of 1min 50.90sec. Marcel Hirscher of Austria was runner-up, 0.26sec back after being the only racer within 1.3sec of Kostelic in the first run.

Austria's Reinfried Herbst, the defending World Cup slalom champion, trailed Kostelic by 1.29sec in third place.

Kostelic, 31, leads the overall and slalom standings after an impressive eight-day spell in which he won the parallel slalom event in Munich eight days ago, then finished second in his home slalom at Zagreb on Thursday.

Although a slalom specialist, Kostelic picked up useful World Cup points with a fifth-place finish in the classic Adelboden giant slalom on Saturday. He was 19th after the first run.

Kostelic now has 504 World Cup points, 69 ahead of Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal, who tied for victory on Saturday despite a heavy cold and skipped the slalom. Silvan Zurbriggen of Switzerland used his 10th place in slalom to climb into third spot overall.

Victory for Kostelic, the Olympic silver medallist in slalom, was his 13th in World Cup events and 10th in slalom.

He holds a 49-point lead in the discipline standings over Andre Myhrer, who won in Zagreb. The Swedish racer was 16th after a tough second run.

On a mixed day for the United States team, Ted Ligety and Bode Miller skied out early in their morning run. "I was surprised by how fast it was up top and was making small mistakes turn after turn," said Ligety, who retained fifth overall.

Ligety said conditions were difficult after the course was heavily salted to preserve Saturday's showpiece race. "Yesterday they did a really good job. Today, the continuing warm and the salt has rotted it out," he said.

However, team-mate Will Brandenburg scored his first World Cup points by finishing 24th. The 24-year-old from Spokane, Washington was 4.19sec down on Kostelic.

In the women's competition, Switzerland's Lara Gut celebrated her first World Cup victory since returning from a one-year injury lay-off yesterday when she upset favourite Lindsey Vonn to win the Altenmarkt Super-G in Austria. Gut, the world downhill and super-combined silver medallist, clocked 1min 12.82sec. American Vonn finished second, 0.53sec behind.