Kostelic wins World Cup super combined; Bode sixth
WENGEN, Switzerland – Ivica Kostelic won a World Cup super-combined event Friday to extend his lead in the overall standings with a third victory in 12 days. Bode Miller was the top American in sixth place.
Kostelic dominated the afternoon slalom run, after placing sixth in the downhill, for a combined two-leg time of 2 minutes 40.44 seconds. Carlo Janka of Switzerland was second, 0.58 seconds back. Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway was third.
American Ted Ligety used the second-best slalom run to place ninth.
With 100 race points for victory, Kostelic holds a 109-point advantage on Svindal in the standings.
Kostelic’s 14th World Cup win came after victories in a parallel slalom event this month at Munich and a slalom at Adelboden, Switzerland.
“I’m just riding on this wave that I caught in Munich and going from race to race,” said Kostelic, who excels on the Wengen slalom slope. “These last two weeks have been the most successful of my career.”
Miller, who edged Kostelic for the Olympic super-combined gold medal last February, was 1.68 back. The American got his best result of the season in a traditional World Cup race.
Ligety had the second-fastest slalom run in snowy conditions he described as “horrendous” after days of rain and warm weather.
“The course is just bottomless slush,” said Ligety, who finished 23rd in the downhill. Ligety stayed fifth in the overall standings.
The wet, spring-like snow perfectly suited Kostelic, who prides himself on training into May when other racers take offseason breaks.
“I ski quite well on the soft snow,” said Kostelic, who was fifth after the downhill.
Nearing the halfway mark of the season, Kostelic is well poised to claim his first overall World Cup title. His sister Janica was a three-time women’s overall champion, in 2001, ’03 and ’06.
Janka is the defending overall champion and equaled his best result this season.
“Ivica was too strong. I’m really happy with my day, in downhill and the slalom,” said the 24-year-old Swiss, who will defend his title in the classic Lauberhorn downhill on Saturday.
Daniel Albrecht started a speed race for the first time since his horrific crash in downhill training two years ago at Kitzbuehel, Austria. He injured his brain and lungs and was kept in a medically induced coma for three weeks.
Albrecht, who has competed in three giant slaloms this season, ran two-thirds of the shortened Lauberhorn course before missing a gate in the downhill.
“I told myself yesterday, ‘Do the race, but do it easily and take it as a training run,”‘ said the 27-year-old Swiss, who was 2007 world champion in super-combined. “The feeling is not so bad.”
About 19,000 fans lined the course for the first of the three-race Lauberhorn weekend, which includes a slalom on Sunday.