Austria’s Herbst wins World Cup slalom

KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia — Reinfried Herbst led an Austrian 1-2 finish at a men’s World Cup slalom Sunday for his second win in six days.

Herbst finished the course in a combined time of 1 minute, 45.35 seconds to beat Marcel Hirscher by 0.40 seconds for his fourth victory of the season and ninth overall. He also won Tuesday at Schladming, Austria.

“It went really well. I have been suffering from back problems but felt very well before the race,” Herbst said. “I am very proud about my second run as conditions were very difficult.”

Herbst said he is glad to now have some time off before the Vancouver Olympics.

“I need a break now,” Herbst said. “January has been very intense. On the other hand, in this kind of form you’re always happy to have another race coming up.”

Hirscher was 1.36 seconds behind in 15th after the opening run. He switched equipment in-between runs and attacked throughout to post the fastest time in the second leg, which was set by the Austrian team’s technical coach, Michael Pircher.

It was the third podium finish in as many days for Hirscher, who won Saturday’s giant slalom.

“I went back to my old boots and skis. My second run was very good,” Hirscher said. “The course got worse during the race, which was definitely in my favor. It’s just unbelievable how things are going right now. I could have never dreamed of such a weekend.”

Herbst holds a 43-point lead in the slalom standings over Julien Lizeroux of France, who was 0.53 back in third.

Lizeroux, who won here last year, lost his balance at the final section of the first run and had 0.55 to make up in the second.

“I was pretty fast in both runs,” Lizeroux said. “I lost the race with that one mistake, but I am happy to be on the podium. It’s going to be a terrific fight for the slalom title this season. Herbst is in front, but I never give up.”

Giuliano Razzoli of Italy posted the fastest time in the opening leg but straddled a gate in the final run.

Ted Ligety of the United States, who won on Friday, had a strong second run to rise from 10th to fourth place but was later disqualified for straddling a gate.

Benjamin Raich of Austria finished sixth to extend his lead in the overall standings over Switzerland’s Carlo Janka to 1,003-897. Janka skipped the race.

“I was pretty fast, but I had some mistakes as usual,” Raich said. “I hope to have that sorted out before the Olympics. Shortly before the finish I lost control over one ski on a bump, so I have to be glad to get over the finish line at all.”

Defending overall champion Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway usually avoids slaloms but used this race to prepare for the combined event at the Olympics. He failed to finish his first run.

Bode Miller of the United States skipped the race to rest his sore ankle ahead of the Olympics.

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