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Alpine skiing: Neureuther wins Bormio World Cup slalom

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Germany's Felix Neureuther produced a flawless second run to claim his maiden World Cup win of the season at the men's slalom in Bormio on Monday.

In an event rescheduled from Zagreb, slalom title chaser Marcel Hirscher took control in the first run with a 0.01sec lead on Neureuther to edge towards a third consecutive slalom victory on Italian soil.

However, the Austrian failed to replicate that performance on the unforgiving Stelvio course, finishing second at 0.36sec behind Neureuther after the nocturnal second run.

Italian Manfred Moelgg completed the podium in third.

Hirscher was already behind Neureuther by the first time check after the steep, first section and later said: "On the steep wall I was already in difficulty, although I don't really know why.

"In the end I'm happy to finish in second. As soon as the race got going I knew Felix was hungry for the win."

Neureuther's sixth career victory in the World Cup and first since winning the Lenzerheide slalom at the end of last season was all the more tasty, according to the 29-year-old German.

"Last season it was always quite close with Marcel in the first leg, then he would knock me out in the second.

"This time I felt comfortably in contention. All I wanted to do was get faster, and it all worked out for me."

Austrian Mario Matt had been bidding for a 15th World Cup slalom win that would have seen him surpass compatriot Benni Raich and equal Croatian Ivica Kostelic in third place on the all-time men's World Cup slalom victory list.

Matt, however, followed up a disappointing ninth place finish in the first run to finish 13th and see Hirscher reduce his arrears to the slalom World Cup leader to just 20 points.

A number of other slalom specialists also failed to shine on the steep slopes of the Stelvio, which hosted the event after Zagreb was ruled out at the last minute.

Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Grange improved on his second run but was left down in sixth place, while the times of Kostelic and Raich were only good enough for 24th and 25th places respectively.

One of the stars of the second run was Naoki Yuasa, who was unlucky not to claim a podium finish after coming home 0.3sec behind Moelgg.

Yuasa was only 22nd after a first run which he completed 2.02secs behind Hirscher, but the Japanese upstart scorched down the course in 58.25 -- the fastest of the field -- in the second to take the provisional lead.

His time in the spotlight lasted longer than expected as a host of more experienced specialists all failed to unseat him, until Moelgg, sixth-last out the gate, pushed him off top spot.

jd/bc

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140106/alpine-skiing-neureuther-wins-bormio-world-cup-slalom-0