SEMMERING, Austria Dec. 29, 2002 (USSA)--World Cup leader Janica Kostelic of Croatia put more distance between herself and the women's pack Sunday night as she produced her third slalom victory of the season, winning by more than a second in 1:38.47 with Christel Pascal of France runnerup in 1:39.78.
Kostelic led the first run but said she was amazed she was leading because she skied so poorly. On her second run, she and overwhelmed the well-lighted course as she boosted her points to 955, more than 400 ahead of Italy's Karen Putzer in second place.
Sarah Schelper (Vail, CO), ninth in the first run, had the fourth-fastest second run to generate her first top-5 of the season as she was fifth and was the lone U.S. finisher. Kristina Koznick (Burnsville, MN) was disqualified after the second run and Caroline Lalive (Steamboat Springs, CO) skied out in the first run.
"Her first run was not so good but Sarah's second run was pretty good," said U.S. Coach Mathias Berthold. "She didn't ski well at the top but she was third at the bottom, so that helped. She didn't do what we talked about on the first run but she fixed it on her final run...
"(In Saturday's GS in Semmering) she had a good first run but never found her rhythm until the bottom of her second run, near the finish. I think Sarah has a good chance to do well in giant slalom, though."
Next weekend, races scheduled for Berchtesgaden, Germany, have been relocated to Bormio, Italy, Berthold said. A giant slalom is scheduled for Saturday with another slalom—the sixth of the season—Sunday.
FIS ALPINE WORLD CUP
Semmering, AUT - Dec. 29Women's Slalom
1. Janica Kostelic, Croatia, 1:38.472. Christel Pascal, France, 1:39.783. Nicole Gius, Italy, 1:40.454. Laure Pequegnot, France, 1:40.585. Sarah Schleper, Vail, CO, 1:40.86
DQ-2: Kristina Koznick, Burnsville, MNDNF-1: Caroline Lalive, Steamboat Springs, CO
World Cup Standings (16 races)1. Kostelic, 955 points2. Karen Putzer, Italy, 5193. Michaela Dorfmeister, Austria, 4604. Martina Ertl, Germany, 4255. Carole Montillet, France, 419
6. Kirsten Clark, Raymond, ME, 36313. Schleper, 21518. Lalive, 18731. Jonna Mendes, Heavenly, CA, 12043. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA, 9650. Koznick, 7565T. Katie Monahan, Aspen, CO, 3980T. Libby Ludlow, Bellevue, WA, and Resi Stiegler, Jackson Hole, WY, 24 each98. Bryna McCarty, Concord, VT, 18
Women's Slalom (5 races)1. Kostelic, 4302. Pascal, 2453. Anja Paerson, Sweden, 2184. Tanja Poutiainen, Finland, 1905. Marlies Schild, Austria, 167
7. Schleper, 14521. Koznick, 5033. Stiegler, 2445. Mancuso, 6