Neureuther edges Hirscher to win World Cup slalom at Wengen

Associated Press
1/20/2013 9:47:32 AM
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WENGEN, Switzerland -- Felix Neureuther of Germany finally mastered Marcel Hirscher, his regular training partner, to win a high-class World Cup slalom on Sunday.

Neureuther made up a 0.05-second deficit from the first run to win by 0.21 from the Austrian overall World Cup leader, who was seeking his fourth straight slalom win.

The 28-year-old German threw his arms out wide and shouted with delight on 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," said Neureuther. "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 seeking to win the Wengen slalom for the fourth straight year.

Hirscher extended his lead in the overall standings to 188 points from Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway, who skips slalom races.

"I'm very satisfied," said the 23-year-old Austrian." I was even lucky to finish second because Ivica was very close. For me, it's a gain."

Hirscher leads the slalom standings from Neureuther, and stretched his record of finishing on the podium in every slalom he has completed to 18 races over the past two years.

Ted Ligety of the United States, who is third overall, placed 13th, 1.33 behind Neureuther. Ligety earned 20 World Cup points and is 239 behind defending champion Hirscher.

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 victory in slalom at Wengen, followed his father Christian who won here 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 who got 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."

Mike Janyk of Whistler, B.C., earned a 26th-place finish -- a result he hopes can be a turning point for the Canadian men's slalom team.

Janyk finished 28th after the first run and then laid down a solid second run to pick up his -- and the Canadian men's slalom team's -- first World Cup points of the campaign.

"Hopefully this can spark something," said Janyk, an experienced competitor who has been ranked 21st, 13th and 9th in the world in slalom over the past three seasons. "I'm going to build off it, for sure -- I haven't had a second run so far.

"Obviously I've been going through some tough times -- it's the first time in my career. I'm still not happy with today but I'm happy being a part of (the second run). First run I got lucky but I gave myself an opportunity to be lucky."

Janyk started 28th Sunday and finished in the same position at the end of the first run after clocking a time of one minute, 0.02 seconds -- 2.27 seconds back of Hisrcher, the first run leader.

Given the chance to start his first second run of this World Cup season, Janyk laid down what turned out to be the 14th-fastest second run of the day to give him a two-run combined time of 1:53.34.

"Honestly, I wanted to be a part of it today," said Janyk. "All those DNFs and all that stuff happening . . . Madonna (in Italy in December) was a freak straddle but the rest -- I haven't found that zone in a race. Today I did start to find that zone. I wanted to be part of it today."

Julien Cousineau, of Lachute, Que., and Trevor Philp, of Calgary, Alta., did not finish their first runs, while Sasha Zaitsoff, of Queens Bay, B.C., was 43rd after the first run with a time of 1:02.34.

Only the top 30 qualify for the second run.

Felix Neureuther (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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