Kostelic is back in the game in Kranjska Gora

08 March 2012 18:15

After injuring his knee in the Sochi Downhill, and still managing to win the Super Combined race, Kostelic was forced to put his season on hold and have his knee surgically fixed. In a hospital in Basel (SUI), Dr. Claude Muller successfully removed a cracked piece of meniscus from Kostelic’s right knee, and after three weeks of intensive rehabilitation in Croatia, this weekend he will be back on the slopes in Kranjska Gora where the 51st edition of the Vitranc Cup is taking place

During his rehabilitation period, Kostelic missed nine races- the technical events in Bansko, the Parallel City event in Moscow, the speed and Giant Slalom Race in Crans Montana and last weekend’s speed events in Norway. Kostelic is no newbie to injuries and rehab, this being his 10th time under the knife.

“Over the past 6 days I trained well in our base in Innerkrems, Austria. During the last two days I was able to do full intensity training in both Slalom and Giant Slalom without my knee bothering me. On Friday I will be there for the hang training in Kranjska Gora with the rest of the guys and am planning on being competitive in both upcoming races. As far as the Finals go, I will decide on what to start and when to rest as we see things developing in the upcoming days,” Kostelic said after arriving in Kranjska Gora on Thursday.

In the chase for the Overall title, with 1250 points collected so far, Beat Feuz is currently 115 points ahead of second ranked Marcel Hirscher and 207 points ahead of Ivica Kostelic. But, having four technical disciplines and only two speed disciplines left sure gives Hirscher and Kostelic a slight advantage over Feuz. This weekend’s Giant Slalom and Slalom are the last races before the whole Tour moves to Schladming for the Finals. Interestingly enough, apart from the Super Combined title, which Kostelic secured in Sochi, all the other disciplines are still at stake. In Giant Slalom, with 545 points Hirscher is 132 points ahead of Ted Ligety, while Massimiliano Balardone sits third, 187 points behind the leader.

In Slalom, Kostelic is still on top of the list with 595 points, while Hirscher is right behind with 560. Andre Myhre sits in third, 151 points behind Kostelic.

This should be an intense weekend of racing, with everyone chasing some last points before the very last races in Schladming. Both the Slalom and Giant Slalom this weekend are scheduled with an early start, first run kicks off at 9.30 while the second one starts at 12.30.


by Ana Jelusic