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banner Saturday, 9 March, 2002, 11:07 GMT
Kostelic seals slalom crown
Bode Miller in action in Salt Lake City
Bode Miller produced a stunning second run
Click here for results

Ivica Kostelic claimed the World Cup slalom title by beating American rival Bode Miller in the final race of the season.

Miller, lying eighth after a mistake in the first leg, produced a storming second run to put the pressure on Kostelic.

But the Croat, skiing last after setting the fastest time in the opening leg, kept his nerve to win by 0.23 seconds, with Olympic champion Jean-Pierre Vidal of France third.

To win this race in front of this fantastic crowd with all the pressure and expectations on me is phenomenal
Ivica Kostelic

"This is one of the greatest moments in my life," said Kostelic, who became Croatia's first men's champion in the World Cup.

Organisers estimated that there were some 15,000 spectators in Flachau, with a large section of them behind Kostelic.

"They really gave me a lot of motivation," said the 22-year-old, the older brother of triple women's Olympic champion Janica.

"To win this race in front of this fantastic crowd with all the pressure and expectations on me is phenomenal."

Miller said he could not be disappointed with second place in the race and in the cup standings.

"I tried my best but I blew it in the first run," said the American. "But I have no regrets. Ivica totally deserved this win because he has always finished in the top 10 this season."

The race marked the farewell of 1989 and 1990 World Cup giant slalom champion Ole Christian Furuseth after 16 years on the circuit.

The 35-year-old Norwegian skied the second leg bare-armed and bare-headed, stopping three times on the descent to exchange high fives with his coaches.

Flachau slalom results:

1. Ivica Kostelic, Croatia, 1 minute 37.92 seconds (49.36 seconds -48.56 seconds).
2. Bode Miller, United States, 1:38.15 (50.71 - 47.44).
3. Killian Albrecht, Austria, 1:39.04 (49.88 - 49.06).
4. Jean Pierre Vidal, France, 1:39.00 (50.32 -48.68).
5. Sebastien Amiez, France, 1:39.09 (50.31 - 48.78).
6. Benjamin Raich, Austria, 1:39.49 (50.65 -48.80).
7. Mitja Kunc, Slovenia, 1:39.93 (50.65. 49.28)
8. Markus Larsson, Sweden, 1:40.00 (50.87 - 49.13).
9. Jure Kosir, Slovenia, 1:40.07 (50.64 - 49.43).
10. Kjetil Andre Aamodt, Norway, 1:40.13 (50.87 -49.26).

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See also:

07 Mar 02 |  Skiing
Dorfmeister wins again
06 Mar 02 |  Skiing
Dorfmeister crowned champion
03 Mar 02 |  Skiing
Eberharter clinches title
02 Mar 02 |  Skiing
Kostner retains World Cup
02 Mar 02 |  Skiing
Trinkl caps downhill comeback
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