Sunday, January 20, 2013 10:18 am
Felix Neureuther wins World Cup slalom
By GRAHAM DUNBARAP Sports Writer
Neureuther made up a deficit of 0.05 seconds from the first run to beat Hirscher by 0.21 seconds and deny him a fourth straight slalom win.
The German threw out his arms and shouted with delight upon crossing the line, then repeated the gesture as he watched first-run leader Hirscher fall short of victory.
"I'm really very happy and proud of myself," Neureuther said. "It's fun for me and Marcel, too, I guess, to have such a good fight."
Ivica Kostelic of Croatia was third, 0.25 behind Neureuther's two-run time of 1 minute, 50.53 seconds. Kostelic was trying to win the Wengen slalom for the fourth straight year.
Hirscher extended his lead in the overall standings to 188 points over Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal, who skips slalom races.
"I'm very satisfied," Hirscher said. "I was even lucky to finish second because Ivica was very close. For me, it's a gain."
Ted Ligety of the U.S., who is third overall, placed 13th, 1.33 behind Neureuther. Ligety earned 20 World Cup points and is 239 behind defending champion Hirscher.
Hirscher leads the slalom standings ahead of Neureuther and stretched his record of finishing on the podium in every slalom he has completed to 18 races over the past two years.
It was Neureuther's second World Cup win this season, adding to the New Year's Day parallel racing event at Munich, Germany.
He has four career victories and, with by winning the slalom at Wengen he followed his father, Christian, who won on this course in 1973 and `74.
Kostelic also wrote a chapter of personal history by finishing on the Wengen podium for the 12th time. He surpassed Alpine greats Ingemar Stenmark, Marc Girardelli and Didier Cuche - they had 11 top-3 finishes at a single World Cup venue.
"These are the biggest names that Alpine sport has. The moment when you beat these guys is like a dream," the 33-year-old Kostelic said. "Coming into today's race I had this in mind. It seemed like it was a good chance."
Kostelic was cheered by a crowd of 8,000, including a flag-waving group of Croatia fans who traditionally arrive to support him on Sundays in Wengen.
In a tight race on a clear, sunny day, Hirscher had 14 rivals within one second of him after the morning run, though one expected challenge faded.
Alexis Pinturault of France, whose slick slalom run Friday lifted him to victory in the super-combined event, almost skied out and did not qualify for the second run.
Ligety's teammates David Chodounsky and Will Brandenburg finished outside the top-30 racers who qualified.