Are, Sweden Feb. 20--Kristina Koznick (Burnsville, MN), getting morecomfortable by the run on new, shortskis, finished second Sunday in a World Cup slalom behind SlovenianSpela Pretnar, who was consideringretirement a year ago and enrolling at UCLA. The win in Are was herfourth victory of the season.
Pretnar overtook first-run leader Christel Saioni of France to win witha two-run time of 1:32.02. Koznick, whowas second in the first run, was clocked in 1:32.26 and Anja Paerson ofSweden was third with a time of1:32.49. Caroline Lalive (Steamboat Springs, CO), the only other U.S.skier to qualify for the second run, was16th in 1:34.30.
Koznick's first World Cup win came at Are just before the 1998 Olympics.Sunday's performance was her firstpodium of this season, the top U.S. alpine result of the winter.
"I knew I could have been so much faster on her first run, so that wasfrustrating. I skied well in the secondrun, but I lost it over the last flat section 10 gates...but it's thebest I've skied in a long time, so I'm happy,"Koznick said.
"It was tight, really tight in that first run, the top four all within atenth of a second. But, Kristina skied likechampions do - they strike," said U.S. GS/SL Coach Georg Capaul
Lalive started 46th "and it was a most spectacular race," Capaul said."Now she's 30th in World Cup points -not enough to get her into the World Cup Finals which includes only thetop 25 by points plus the WorldJuniors champion in an event and 400point skiers, but when you considershe didn't ski between August andnovember, and missed Lienz, she's skiing so well.
"It just so hard to believe this is it - no more slaloms, no more GSuntil World Cup Finals," Capaul said. "Itreally hurts that we lost Zwiesel." Without the GS/SL combination thatZwiesel would have offered, Koznick -who will compete in SL at the Finals - finishes just outside the top 25in GS, and Lalive loses a chance topossibly move into the top 25 if she had that Zwiesel SL to count.
The women's side of the Cafe de Colombia Alpine World Cup returns tocentral Europe for a DH/SGcombination Feb. 26-27 outside Innsbruck, Austria.