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(E,H) Janica Kostelic leads the World Cup 2005-2006
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  01/8/2006 | Sports | Unrated
(E,H) Janica Kostelic leads the World Cup 2005-2006



Unplanned day off gives Kostelic recovery time

MARIBOR, Slovenia Janica Kostelic got an extra day to nurse her swollen right hand before she resumed her quest to beat Sweden's Anja Paerson for the overall World Cup title. A giant slalom race in Maribor, Slovenia, had been canceled on Saturday because warm weather created dangerously soft conditions, but organizers were able to fix the course in time for a Sunday slalom.

Paerson, the defending overall World Cup champion and a seven-time winner at Maribor, skied out in her first run on Sunday. That mistake could allow Kostelic to extend her lead at the top of the overall standings.

After the first run, the Austrian Kathrin Zettel was leading.

Zettel posted a time of 51.89 seconds, with her compatriot Marlies Schild half a second behind and Annemarie Gerg of Germany in third place. Zettel has emerged this season with some strong performances, including a second place in the slalom in Zagreb, Croatia, on Thursday and three other podium finishes. Kostelic injured her hand in that slalom on Thursday. "It's O.K., I can ski with this hand," Kostelic said Saturday. "My hand is pretty good - better than yesterday. I can hold the pole now." Her hand is still being rubbed with salves to reduce swelling after the injury in Zagreb. There, Kostelic thrilled her home crowd of 25,000 by finishing third despite losing her pole and glove at the start of her second run. She could barely move her fingers after slapping the gates with her bare hand all the way down. Kostelic is already looking ahead to the Winter Olympics, starting Feb. 10 in Turin, but the Croat was not predicting a repeat of the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, where she claimed three golds. "My goal this time is one gold medal," Kostelic said.

Kostelic has 652 points in the overall standings, compared with Paerson's 585. The Swede won the season honors last year, edging her rival by three points. In the giant slalom standings, Paerson has a 285 to 270 lead over Kostelic with three races left before the Olympics.

Rain over the past few days, along with rising temperatures, led to the softening of the snow on Saturday. Many racers agreed the conditions were too risky. More than 2,000 fans had turned out at the Pohorje course, hoping to see the local favorite, Tina Maze, repeat her victory from last season in the giant slalom. But most skiers approved of the decision not to run the race.

One of the skiers supporting that decision was Lindsey Kildow, the American who leads the downhill standings. She posted a career-best ninth in the giant slalom last year in Maribor.

"I was really looking forward to the race, because I know I can do well on this hill," Kildow said. "But I really wouldn't want to compromise my health by racing in conditions like today."

Organizers said the giant slalom may be rescheduled at another World Cup event. Among other methods, in order to harden the snow for the race on Sunday the organizers watered the slope so it would freeze.

Kostelic, meanwhile, was upbeat about her injury.
"I think nothing's broken," she told state-run Croatian Radio. "It'll be O.K., I think."
"If I won't be able to hold the pole, they should tie it to my hand," she jokingly added.
She said, however, that the injury was "so painful I thought I wouldn't be able to do it."
"But I had to do it this year because of the crowd," she added.
Kostelic did not finish her home event last year after missing a gate.


Janica Kostelić osvojila je drugo mjesto na petom slalomu sezone Svjetskog kupa u Mariboru, čime je sačuvala svoje vodstvo u ukupnom poretku Svjetskog kupa i u slalomu.
Nakon Sljemena, Austrijanka Marlies Schild je slavila i u Mariboru s vremenom 1:48,34 minute, a Janica je na drugom mjestu zaostala 57 stotinki. Kostelić je i u petoj slalomskoj utrci sezone zaredom došla do pobjedničkog postolja, a na stazi na Pohorju, koju prema vlastitom priznanju ne voli, u posljednje je tri nastupa svaki puta bila druga.
U prvoj vožnji Janica je bila osma, ali je zato imala najbolje vrijeme druge vožnje, dijelom i zbog tehnički vrlo zahtjevne staze koju je postavio njezin otac Ante Kostelić.
Nakon pet slalomskih utrka vode Kostelić i Schild s po 360 bodova, a u ukupnom poretku hrvatska Snježna kraljica uvjerljivo vodi sa 732 boda, odnosno 147 više od drugoplasirane Šveđanke Anje Paersson, koja je odustala u prvoj vožnji.
Nika Fleiss je sa zaostatkom od 2,59 sekundi osvojila 11. mjesto, što joj je najbolji rezultat u Mariboru, a Ana Jelušić je bila 19. s 5,50 sekundi sporijim vremenom od Schild.
Treće mjesto u Mariboru osvojila je Šveđanka Therese Borssen, a Matea Ferk je u prvoj vožnji bila 56.
1. Marlies Schild (Aut) 52,19 / 56,15 / 1:48,34  
2. Janica Kostelić
(Hrv) 53,05 / 55,86 / 1:48,91
3. Therese Borssen
(Šve) 52,89 / 56,14 / 1:49,03
4. Kristina Koznick
(SAD) 52,91 / 56,61 / 1:49,52
5. Nicole Hosp
(Aut) 52,74 / 56,92 / 1:49,66
6. Martina Ertl-Renz
(Njem) 53,53 / 56,56 / 1:50,09
7. Laure Pequegnot
(Fra) 53,40 / 56,81 / 1:50,21
8. Maria Pietilae-Holmner
(Šve) 53,80 / 56,72 / 1:50,52
9. Lindsey Kildow
(SAD) 53,84 / 56,92 / 1:50,76
10. Michaela Kirchgasser
(Aut) 54,41 / 56,38 / 1:50,79
11. Nika Fleiss
(Hrv) 53,76 / 57,17 / 1:50,93
19. Ana Jelušić
(Hrv) 54,90 / 58,94 / 1:53,84
Ukupni poredak Svjetskog kupa nakon 15 utrka:
1. Janica Kostelić (HRV) 732  
2. Anja Pärson
(ŠVE) 585
3. Michaela Dorfmeister
(AUT) 510
. Marlies Schild
(AUT) 510
5. Lindsey C. Kildow
(SAD) 478
6. Kathrin Zettel
(AUT) 470
7. Alexandra Meissnitzer
(AUT) 427
8. Nicole Hosp
(AUT) 382
9. Andrea Fischbacher
(AUT) 273
10. Julia Mancuso
(SAD) 259
(HRV) 114
(HRV) 58
Poredak u slalomu nakon pet utrka:
1. Janica Kostelić (HRV) 360  
Marlies Schild
(AUT) 360
3. Nicole Hosp
(AUT) 247
4. Anja Pärson
(ŠVE) 245
5. Kathrin Zettel
(AUT) 230
6. Kristina Koznick
(SAD) 180
7. Laure Pequegnot
(FRA) 155
8. Tanja Poutiainen
(FIN) 149
9. Therese Borssen
(ŠVE) 138
10. Annemarie Gerg
(NJEM) 119
13. Nika Fleiss
(HRV) 89
22. Ana Jelušić
(HRV) 58


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