Kostelic on top of the tightest podium of the season
FLACHAU, Austria- What a tight podium tonight in Flachau! Ivica Kostelic held on to his first run lead and goes on to win his second slalom this season. Andre Myhrer lands in second place, just .06 seconds behind Kostelic while Italian Cristian Deville rounds out the podium in third.
In front of 12 500 spectators which beside standing in the finish area stands were covering both sides of the slopes, the men put on an exciting show and Kostelic celebrated his 20th career victory. And what a victory, he won by the smallest margin he could remember.
“I don’t remember when was the last time that the three guys at the top were separated by nine hundreds of a second,” Kostelic said. “It was an amazing race, especially for the spectators. Just two days ago I was really disappointed and sad about how things went in Alta Badia. I was just 17 hundreds away from second place and was fifth. But one of my friends once said- the wheel of fortune is turning, sometimes you are down sometimes you are up. I think today there was a little bit of luck for me as well.”
Koselic skied a perfectly smooth second run, it seemed as the ruts didn’t exist for him. Up until the second intermediate he was over .30 seconds ahead of Myhrer, who was leading at the time.
“I was skiing quite good so I tried to be more relaxed in the second run. I tried to not attack too much, just wanted to ski smooth,” was Kostelic’s said about his second run tactic, which obviously paid off.
Kostelic celebrated his first Slalom globe in Flachau in 2002, snatching it away by 51 points from Bode Miller who got second in the discipline. Winning again on the same slope was a very special experience for Kostelic.
“This slope was quite generous to me and my family. Me and Bode (Miller) met at the start today, ten years after and discussed a little about that day 10 years ago. It was an amazing race. It was for sure the most exciting race in my life.”
His sister Janica has been by his side since she retired from ski racing, and Ivica consider her his best advisor.
“I always go to Janica for advice, she has a lot of experience so I trust her judgment. Every time I have a doubt about something I ask her,” he said about the close relationship with his sister.
Kostelic traditionally skips the speed races in Bormio to have time and prepare for the tough January program, this year he plans to do the same.
“We just have t pray for good health and hopefully continue to ski fast in January. We didn’t expect to be this high on the Overall list at the moment. I’m skipping Bormio and going to Munich next. I need a few days of training before January since it’s going to be some tough program. I need to fill up some energy.”
Kostelic, who shares Myhrer’s passion for music sees in the second ranked Swedae a good friend and serious contender for one of the top spots in this season’s slaloms.
“I like the way Myhrer is skiing this year, he doesn’t make mistakes and is very solid. He is going to be a tough opponent.
“This year we didn’t have much snow but usually Sweden is like this,” Myhrer joked about the weather in Flachau.
Myhrer was the fastest skier of the second run and it seems as if he was giving it all in order to make up for a first in which he had some mistakes.
“I’m really happy with my performance today, I had a great second run after making a little mistake in the first. I’m in there and I know I can ski fast.”
He was named “Snow King” last year in Zagreb and with that being the next scheduled Slalom race, Myhrer is already looking forward to starting the new year there. Is he about to defend his last year’s crown?
“Absolutely, I will try to defend my title in Zagreb. It’s a nice hill that has everything- the steep the flat and some tricky points. The crowds there are just amazing. It’s also a night race, which I love. It’s a great atmosphere and I love to go there.”
But as for everyone else, it’s time to store skis and skiboots for a few days and enjoy the holidays.
“I’m headed home to celebrate Christmas, we had a lot of training and racing at the end of December so I am looking forward to going home. It’s time to get some rest, eat some good food and maybe Santa is coming as well”
Cristian Deville had to wait for many years to get on a World Cup podium. He debuted in World Cup back in 2003 in Kranjska Gora and this year in Beaver Creek he finally met his longtime goal. And once he got that podium, he keeps them coming. Out of three Slalom races this season, Deville has climbed the podium twice.
“It’s crazy! I’m so happy,” Deville couldn’t stop smiling. “I can see what’s happening this year and can’t believe I am being this fast. I haven’t changed anything compared to the past seasons. The same material, the training is the same as in the past. Maybe this year I am just a little more fortunate and for now that is really good.”
The first podium can really be overwhelming and Deville can feel the tiredness o two of them in such a short period of time.
“All I want to do now is get some sleep, I’m so tired and I want to find some good presents under the tree and see what happens in January.”
Deville’s teammate Patrick Thaler, has been extremely strong in the second runs of the previous Slaloms, today was no difference. He finished in sixth place, proving once again he might have a serious shot at the podium in one of the next Slalom races.
Felix Neureuther was a little bit unluckier than in Alta Badia on Monday, today he was left just off the podium, in fourth place.
It’s time for a Christmas break so we wish you a Merry Christmas! It’s time for everyone to get a well deserved break and the races continue after the holidays in Bormio for the men and in Lienz for the ladies tour.
Don't forget to have a look at the video of tonight's winners, the video can be found here.
by Ana Jelusic