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Sweden's Myhrer wins World Cup slalom title

By Eric Willemsen

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, March 18 2012 8:50 a.m. MDT

Sweden's Andre Myhrer competes on his way to win an alpine ski, men's World Cup slalom, in Schladming, Austria, Sunday, March 18, 2012.

Shinichiro Tanaka, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

SCHLADMING, Austria — Andre Myhrer of Sweden crowned a strong finish to his slalom season Sunday by winning the last race and securing the World Cup discipline title.

Myhrer was third in the standings going into the race but overtook leader Ivica Kostelic of Croatia, who finished 16th, and second-place Marcel Hirscher of Austria, who straddled a gate and failed to score points.

"This is a great feeling, I am all over the place," Myhrer said. "I am very happy. I have been working a long time for this."

For most of the season, Kostelic and Hirscher dominated the slalom discipline and shared eight wins between them. The turnaround came in Kransjka Gora, Slovenia, last week, where Kostelic only managed a 16th-place finish and Hirscher went out.

Myhrer won that race and suddenly became an outside contender, still trailing Kostelic by 66 points and Hirscher by 16.

"I had only a small chance and I knew I had to just focus on my skiing," Myhrer said. "I was a bit nervous before my final run but just tried to ski like I normally do."

Myhrer finished in 1 minute, 32.47 seconds to win his second slalom of the season and fourth overall. Felix Neureuther, who led the race after the first run, came 0.30 behind in second and Mario Matt of Austria was third, 0.60 behind.

After the first run, Myhrer knew his rivals were both out of the points and that he needed to come first or second for the title.

Kostelic, who won the overall and slalom title last year, came in almost 19 seconds behind as he had to hike up the hill after a mistake at the fourth gate.

"I wanted to attack but I overdid," said Kostelic, who underwent knee surgery last month. "My body is not in great shape so I have to take a lot of risks to be as fast as the other guys."

Hirscher, who won the overall championship Saturday, failed to finish after straddling a gate. It was the fifth time in 11 slaloms this season that the Austrian went out.

"It was not easy after all what happened yesterday," Hirscher said. "I was so focused on the fight with Beat (Feuz) for the overall that I am lacking a bit of energy now. I wanted to race today, I tried it, but it just wasn't there."

The slalom was the last race of the men's World Cup season.

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