Deville wins slalom, Kostelic takes combined event

Associated Press
Italy's Cristian Deville celebrates with team's staffers after winning an alpine ski, men's World Cup slalom, in Kitzbuehel, Austria, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012. Cristian Deville of Italy won a men's World Cup slalom Sunday, while defending overall champion Ivica Kostelic finished third to win the combined event and go top of the overall rankings. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)

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KITZBUEHEL, Austria (AP) — Defending champion Ivica Kostelic returned to the top of the overall World Cup standings Sunday after finishing third in a men's slalom won by Italy's Cristian Deville.

While main rival Marcel Hirscher of Austria went out in the second run, Kostelic racked up a total of 160 points in his bid for the title — 60 for the slalom result and 100 for winning the combined event, which adds the slalom results to those from Saturday's downhill.

"I was not thinking about the combined event, just about the slalom," said Kostelic, who now has 855 points to Hirscher's 725.

Austria's Mario Matt, the 2001 and 2007 slalom world champion who led after the opening run, finished second, 0.72 behind Deville.

Nolan Kasper was the top American finisher in the slalom, ending up 14th. Bode Miller did not start and Ted Ligety did not qualify for a second run.

Kostelic said he was determined to do well after the Austrian ski federation admitted before the race that Hirscher had straddled a gate while winning the Jan. 5 night slalom in Zagreb, Croatia.

"That struck me deeply. I was very disappointed and it motivated me highly," said Kostelic. "It's just one race, but the shame lasts forever."

Austrian coaches studying footage of Hirscher's second run in Zagreb after the race saw that one of his skis hit a gate and then passed it on the wrong side, Austria's head coach Mattias Berthold said.

The incident went unnoticed during the race, and results will not be corrected because the International Ski Federation only accepts protests within 15 minutes of a race ending.

Kostelic, who won three slaloms this season, was 0.01 seconds behind Matt after the opening run on the Ganslern course, which was softened by overnight rain and was further damaged during the race.

Kostelic skied very aggressively in his second run because he was unaware of Hirscher's disqualification.

"I attacked more than I normally do," said Kostelic. "The course was very hard to race. I almost fell twice. With these holes, it's hard to race and to find your balance."

Matt held back in his final run in an attempt to avoid the risk of skiing out because of the difficult course conditions.

"It was really hard with all these holes and bumps," Matt said. "For a win, you have to attack in your second run as well. I could not do that as I was in need of good results. Now I've made some points and will go out attacking again the next race."

Deville was meanwhile delighted with the first victory of his career.

"It's fantastic. I have not being skiing that well since the start of the season but my second run was a dream," the Italian said. "I was in the right rhythm from the start and the risks I took have paid off."

Deville had never been on a World Cup podium before this season, but came second in Beaver Creek, Colorado, in November and third in Flachau, Austria, in December.

In the combined event, Swiss duo Beat Feuz and Silvan Zurbriggen came second and third respectively.

The men's World Cup travels to nearby Schladming for a night slalom on Tuesday.

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