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Kostelic wins World Cup super-combined event, Miller third

Published: Friday, Jan. 13 2012 8:46 a.m. MST

Croatia's Ivica Kostelic  speeds down the course during the downhill portion of an alpine ski, men's World Cup super-combined, in Wengen, Switzerland, Friday, Jan. 13, 2012.  (Marco Trovati, Associated Press) Croatia's Ivica Kostelic speeds down the course during the downhill portion of an alpine ski, men's World Cup super-combined, in Wengen, Switzerland, Friday, Jan. 13, 2012. (Marco Trovati, Associated Press)

WENGEN, Switzerland — Ivica Kostelic used a surging slalom run to win a World Cup super-combined race Friday, edging Swiss skier Beat Feuz and Bode Miller.

The Croatian slalom specialist trailed first-run leader Feuz by almost three seconds in the downhill, but beat him by 0.20 seconds. Kostelic had a combined two-run time of 2 minutes, 42.16 seconds.

"I guess no one would put money on me after the downhill," Kostelic said of his 23rd-place finish. "Fortunately, I can say I had one of my best runs ever."

Miller trailed Kostelic by 0.45 after being second-fastest in the downhill.

The 34-year-old Miller, who won the event in 2010, hugged his fellow veteran in congratulation after the result was announced.

U.S.A. Bode Miller starts during a men's alpine skiing, World Cup downhill training session in Wengen, Switzerland, Thursday Jan. 12, 2012. (Marco Trovati, Associated Press) U.S.A. Bode Miller starts during a men's alpine skiing, World Cup downhill training session in Wengen, Switzerland, Thursday Jan. 12, 2012. (Marco Trovati, Associated Press)

"For me, it was really a pretty frustrating day," Miller said before describing a "miserable" slalom run. "Obviously, I made a huge mistake and I allowed myself to get a little bit frustrated."

Ted Ligety of the United States was sixth, 0.81 behind the winner.

"It would have been easy to be seven-tenths faster in slalom," Ligety said. "I skied well at the top, but was too conservative down the pitch."

Kostelic's 21st career World Cup win closed the gap on Marcel Hirscher of Austria in the overall standings. Hirscher did not enter Friday's race, and will compete Sunday in the slalom.

With the 100 World Cup points for victory, Kostelic — the defending overall champion — trails Hirscher by 130. Ligety moved to third overall.

Feuz stayed in fifth and Miller retained his sixth spot with his ninth career podium finish at one of the most traditional and distinctive World Cup venues.

Kostelic said he didn't expect to get his third win this season after slalom victories last month at Beaver Creek, Colo., and Flachau, Austria.

"I think the course setting was quite easy and the snow was not super-demanding," Kostelic said.

Miller's performance on the shortened downhill course suggests he will be difficult to beat in the classic Lauberhorn downhill on Saturday.

Kostelic made a winning start to the defense of his season-long title in super-combined. He's a favorite to win the classic combined event next weekend in Kitzbuehel, Austria.

In the downhill portion of the super-combined, Ryan Semple of Canada crashed out but wasn't injured. He fell on a section known as the Minschkante, where Olympic downhill champion Didier Defago of Switzerland went out in the training run Thursday.

Also, Kostelic said alpine skiing officials should "fight for the survival" of super-combined in the World Cup and Olympics.

The International Ski Federation reportedly is considering the event's status.

Kostelic said combining downhill and slalom skills is "one of the longest traditions" in skiing. He won silver medals in the combined at the 2006 Turin Olympics and super-combined at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

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