Ivica Kostelic's third place finish gives him World Cup lead

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Ivica Kostelic finished third in the slalom on Sunday in Austria, but won the combined event, which also includes Saturday's downhill results.  SHINICHIRO TANAKA/ASSOCIATED PRESS
SHINICHIRO TANAKA/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Ivica Kostelic finished third in the slalom on Sunday in Austria, but won the combined event, which also includes Saturday's downhill results.

KITZBUEHEL, Austria — Defending champion Ivica Kostelic of Croatia returned to the top of the overall World Cup standings Sunday after finishing third in a men’s slalom won by Italy’s Cristian Deville.

While main rival Marcel Hirscher of Austria went out in the second run, Kostelic racked up a total of 160 points in his bid for the title – 60 for the slalom result and 100 for winning the combined event, which adds the slalom results to those from Saturday’s downhill.

“I was not thinking about the combined event, just about the slalom,” said Kostelic.

Kostelic now has 855 points to Hirscher’s 725.

Austria’s Mario Matt, the 2001 and 2007 slalom world champion who led after the opening run, finished second, 0.72 behind Deville.

Nolan Kasper was the top American finisher in the slalom, ending up 14th. Bode Miller did not start and Ted Ligety did not qualify for a second run.

Kostelic said he was determined to do well after the Austrian ski federation admitted before the race that Hirscher had straddled a gate while winning the Jan. 5 night slalom in Zagreb, Croatia.

“That struck me deeply. I was very disappointed and it motivated me highly,” said Kostelic. “It’s just one race, but the shame lasts forever.”

Austrian coaches studying footage of Hirscher’s second run in Zagreb after the race saw that one of his skis hit a gate and then passed it on the wrong side, Austria’s head coach Mattias Berthold said.

The incident went unnoticed during the race, and results will not be corrected because the International Ski Federation only accepts protests within 15 minutes of a race ending.

WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: In Kranjska, Gora, Slovenia, Michaela Kirchgasser of Austria won a World Cup slalom after pre-race favorites Marlies Schild and Maria Hoefl-Riesch skied out on the first run.

Kirchgasser led after the first leg and increased her advantage in the second, finishing in 1 minute, 47.25 seconds, more than sixth-tenths of a second faster than Finland’s Tanja Poutiainen. Veronika Zuzulova of Slovakia was third, 1.34 seconds off the pace. World Cup leader Lindsey Vonn finished seventh.

It is Kirchgasser’s second career World Cup victory.

SPEEDSKATING: In Kearns, Utah, Shani Davis won his second gold in as many days, claiming the 1,000-meter men’s World Cup long track event at the Utah Olympic Oval.

The American finished in 1 minute, 7.69 seconds to edge Stefan Groothuis of The Netherlands (1:07.94). Dutch teammate Pekka Koskela took bronze.


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