Sestriere, Italy, Dec. 20, 2000--Croatian uber-teen Janica Kostelic, who's been bulletproof in slalom despite coming back from knee surgery, ignored back problems to collect her fourth SL win of the season Wednesday. Kristina Koznick (Burnsville, MN) earned her second podiumof winter, finishing third.
Kostelic, who tore four ligaments in her right knee a year ago in St. Moritz, Switzerland, took the first run lead and never wavered to winin 1:43.47. Trine Bakke of Norway was second with a 1:43.88 clocking and Koznick - the only American to reach the second run - wasthird in 1:43.95. She also had been third behind Kostelic during the Chevy Truck Aspen Winternational over Thanksgiving Weekend.
"No one is unbeatable. There are a lot of good skiers here. They can beat me," Kostelic, who turns 19 in two weeks, told reporters betweenruns. But no one's been able to touch her in slalom during this first month of the season.
Koz on Kos: "So much confidence..."
Koznick said Kostelic "is skiing with so much confidence now, you need almost to perfect runs to beat her. But, if I ski to my potential, Ican beat her." She made a mistake at the top of her second run, she said, and that cost her time in the middle and across the flat at thebottom of the run.
The race, which was shifted (along with the GS Tuesday) from Jasna, Slovakia, because of Europe's snow drought, was a big turn-aroundfrom 10 days earlier in Sestriere. On Dec. 10, Kostelic surged on her second run after being 10th in the first run; right behind was SarahSchleper (Vail, CO), who had been 11th on that same first run and finished with her first podium, taking second place.
Wednesday, Schleper was attacking again and had the fastest intermediate time before she skied out in the mid-section on the first run.Caroline Lalive (Steamboat Springs, CO) also was DNF while Tasha Nelson (Mound, MN) was 48th.
Attack from the back
With the temperature around 30 degrees after a cold night that helped the snow set-up, the Giovanni Agnelli course claimed six racers inthe final run. However, conditions were so good in the first run, six who broke into the top 30 started at No. 46 or higher.
World Cup leader Martina Ertl of Germany - who had been 14th - was disqualified after the first run, officials said, because her skiswere too narrow under the boot, fractionally less than the 6-cm minimum-width mandated by the International Ski Federaton.
The women have a short break for the holidays before the Cafe de Colombia World Cup schedule resumes Dec. 28 with the annual nightslalom in Semmering, Austria, near Vienna.
CAFE de COLOMBIA WORLD CUP Sestriere, ITA - Dec. 20
Women's Slalom (from Jasna, SVK)
1. Janica Kostelic, Croatia, 1:43.47
2. Trine Bakke, Norway, 1:43.88
3. Kristina Koznick, Burnsville, Minn., 1:43.95
4. Karin Koellerer, Austria, 1:44.02
5. Claudia Riegler, New Zealand, 1:44.30
6. (tie) Urska Hrovat, Slovenia, and Christel Saioni, France, 1:44.58 each
8. Sonja Nef, Switzerland, 1:44.83
9. Hedda Berntsen, Norway, 1:44.97
10. Tanja Poutiainen, Finland, 1:45.19
11. Anja Paerson, Sweden, 1:45.26
12. Vanessa Vidal, France, 1:45.31
13. Allison Forsyth, Canada, 1:45.37
14. Spela Pretnar, Slovenia, 1:45.44
15. Carina Raich, Austria, 1:45.79
16. Marlies Oester, Switzerland, 1:45.98
17. Noriyo Hiroi, 1:46.13
18. Laura Pequegnot, France, 1:46.42
19. Alenka Dovzan, Slovenia, 1:46.54
20. Zali Steggall, Australia, 1:46.70
21. Nicole Gius, Italy, 1:46.82
22. Christine Sponring, Austria, and Silke Bachmann, Italy, 1:46.97 each
24. Emily Brydon, Canada, 1:48.63
Did not qualify for 2nd run: Tasha Nelson, Mound, Minn.
DNF-1: Sarah Schleper, Vail, Colo.; Caroline Lalive, Steamboat Springs, Colo.
Cafe de Colombia World Cup
Women's Overall (15 races)
1. Martina Ertl, Germany, 610 points
2. Regine Cavagnoud, France, 538
3. Michaela Dorfmeister, Auustria, 523
4. Kostelic, 519
5. Renate Goetschl, Austria, 499
6. Isolde Kostner, Italy, 419
7. Brigitte Obermoser, Austria, 401
8. Paerson, 394
9. Nef, 364
10. Corinne Rey-Bellet, Switzerland, 320
11. Carole Montillet, France, 301
12. Petra Haltmayer, Germany, 247
13. Bakke, 215
14. Koznick, 206
15. Tanja Schneider, Austria, 191
22. Jonna Mendes, Heavenly, Calif., 142
29. Schleper, 106
36. Kirsten Clark, Raymond, Maine, 90
49. Megan Gerety, Anchorage, Alaska, 56
53. Lalive, 49
56. Alison Powers, Winter Park, Colo., 46
99. Picabo Street, Park City, Utah, 7
Women's Slalom (4 races)
1. Kostelic, 400
2. Ertl, 210
3. Bakke, 185
4. Koznick, 166
5. Koellerer, 135
6. Vidal, 130
7. Saioni, 126
8. Pretnar, 115
9. Paerson, 114
10. Schleper, 102
34. Lalive, 14