Kostelic injured in gaining first World Cup title of season
The first title of the 2012 World Cup was decided at Sochi Russia today (Feb. 12) as Ivica Kostelic defended the combined crown with an emphatic 1.16 second win. Just 15th after the downhill leg, Kostelic put his considerable slalom skills to work then waited for someone to threaten his two-run time. No one did.
But it came at a price yet to be determined. Croatian team leader Vedran Pavlek said Kostelic was heading to hospital for an MRI on his right knee after the race. He was in considerable pain and appeared to have difficulty mounting the podium for the awards.
The first hint of the outcome of the race came early. Benjamin Raich barely made the top 30 flip for the slalom, finishing 28th in the downhill, but after a blazing slalom leg he held the lead through skiers with nearly a two second starting margin on him. It was the indicator the slalom skiers would fare well and a good omen for Kostelic who would start with a 1.41 second disadvantage.
Kostelic tore through a course where icy ball bearings were forming to post a huge two and a half second margin over those who had run before him. It was quickly apparent his run was stellar. All of those who started just after Kostelic were behind by the first interval timer, seemingly losing whatever advantage they had as soon as they kicked out of the start house. Others, like Bode Miller, never made it to the first interval. Three of the best four downhill finishers failed to complete the slalom leg.
Carlo Janka started with a .82 advantage and was .31 behind when the first time the clock was stopped. Adrien Theaux - the downhill runner-up - was 1.01 ahead in the start and .06 behind at the first clock before exiting lower down.
Feuz, needing the win to get the title, had a 1.51 advantage that shrunk to .40 at the first clock and turned negative at the third where he was .30 behind. That trend continued to the final timer where Kostelic waited for the 1.16 second win. It was the third time in four combineds Feuz has finished second to Kostelic.
It was the Croatians' sixth win of the season and third in the four combineds held. The win also added 20points to his lead in the chase for the overall title giving him a 70 point cushion over Feuz, but with 15 races remaining and possible surgery ahead.
"I apologize on behalf of Ivica," Pavlek told media at the post race press conference, "he doesn't feel well enough to speak."
Pavlek said Kostelic felt "a click" in his right knee during the second run. "He didn't feel too much pain during the race but at the finish he couldn't fully extend his knee."
Feuz told the press room that he had been no match for Kostelic's slalom skills. "He had an extraordinary second run, really impressive. ... I am very sorry to have heard this news. I hope it's not so bad and he will return as quickly as possible. He is a big champion and I would be sorry if he has a serious injury."
There is a strong possibility Kostelic will be the last man to win a World Cup combined title. Although the provisional calendar shows two combineds next season, that is not enough to award a World Cup title for.
Ivica Kostelic photo by Gepa
MORE TO COME
by Hank McKee
Men's World Cup Combined, Sochi, Russia, Feb 12, 2012
1 Kostelic, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
2 Feuz, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
3 Mermillod Blondin, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
4 Marsaglia, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
5 Raich, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
6 Svindal, Head/Head/Head
7 Janka, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
8 Innerhofer, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
9 Jansrud, Head/Head/Head
10 Fill, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
10 Romar, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
Men's World Cup Combination, Sochi, Russia, Feb. 12, 2012. ... It is the 29th race of the men's 44 race World Cup schedule. ... the fourth of four combined events. ... It is the second World Cup event held at Sochi following yesterday's downhill.
It is the 24th career World Cup win for Ivica Kostelic. ... his eighth in combined. ... It is his sixth win of the season and third in combined.
It is the 12th career World Cup podium result for Beat Feuz. ... and tenth of the season. ... It is his fourth podium in combined all from this season. ... He won the downhill leg of the event.
It is the second career World Cup podium result for Thomas Mermillod Blondin. ... both coming in combined. ... His previous podium, also a third, was scored at Bansko last season.
Standings: Kostelic leads the World Cup overall standings 1043-973 over Feuz. ... Marcel Hirscher (did not race) is third with 825pts. ... Bode Miller (DNF 2nd) is ranked seventh with 612pts. ... Ted Ligety (DNF 2nd) is ninth with 578pts. ... Erik Guay is top Canadian overall in 15th with 397pts. ... Kostelic claims the combined title 336-300 over Feuz. ... Romed Baumann (17th in race) is third with 159pts. ... Ligety is top US skier in 13th with 85pts. ... Austria leads the men's Nations Cup 4762-3145 over Switzerland. ... Italy is third with 2479. ... The US is fifth with 1631 and Canada seventh with 1222pts.
FIS World Cup
Men's Super Combined
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||FIS Points|
|3||7||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA||2:01.69||50.29||2:51.98||11.75|
|6||18||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||2:01.73||51.06||2:52.79||17.13|
|26||44||30149||SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier||1980||ARG||2:08.46||52.03||3:00.49||68.25|
|Disqualified 1st run|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|