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Sunday, 17 January 2010

Ivica Kostelić Wins Slalom In Wengen, Switzerland

(Foto: AFP)

Great news again this morning, and the timing couldn't be better, with the Winter Olympics just around the corner. Coming back to the slopes battling back problems and only a month after his 6th knee operation, Ivica won a podium finish just a few days ago, and then today he wins the slalom in Wengen, Switzerland. Amazing. Ivica will be Croatia's best bet for a skiing medal next month at the Vancouver Olympics. Natko Zrnčić-Dim could also surprise a few people and pull an upset like he has in the past. (He finished a respectable 18th today). Overall great news for Croatian skiing. I just hope he stays injury free this season. Fingers crossed.

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By Brian Homewood, Reuters WENGEN, Switzerland -

Former world champion Ivica Kostelic made light of a recent knee operation to win a World Cup slalom on Sunday. Revelling in his favoured soft snow, the Croatian led after the first of the two runs and held off a spirited challenge from Sweden's Andre Myhrer to repeat his Wengen win of eight years ago. Myhrer, fourth after the first leg, produced a better second-leg time but Kostelic did enough as he finished with a combined time of one minute 40.34 to win by 0.29 seconds from the Swede and notch up the tenth World Cup win of his career. Reinfried Herbst, winner of the season's first two slaloms, gave Austria their only podium in three days of racing at Wengen when he finished third to stay top of the slalom standings. Fellow Austrian Benjamin Raich was fourth but it was not enough for him to regain top spot in the overall World Cup standings from Switzerland's Carlo Janka, who won Saturday's downhill.

(Foto: Reuters)

KNEE INJURY Kostelic, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in December after an injury in Val d'Isere, said he felt no after-effects from the operation. "I'm surprised my knee is holding up so well," said the 30-year-old, who also raced in Friday's super-combined and Saturday's downhill. "I have never lost a race I was leading and today was no exception," Kostelic, third in Adelboden last weekend, told reporters.

. "It's not easy to be leading after the first run but I was thinking about victory from the start." Kostelic, who appears to be reaching his best just in time for next month's Vancouver Olympics, said the sport had become more competitive in the eight years since his last win at Wengen. "Things change, it's always getting faster," he said. "The slalom field is much stronger today than it was then. Today, we have many more contenders for victory than we had in 2002." Twice World Cup winner Bode Miller of the United States, who won Friday's super combined, was eliminated after falling on the first leg. Ivica doing his thing on the second run at Wengen, Switzerland.

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