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November 16, 2009

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Herbst claims slalom at Levi

REINFRIED Herbst of Austria won the men's World Cup slalom opener at Levi, Finland, yesterday, beating Ivica Kostelic of Croatia by 0.28 seconds.

Herbst had a two-run total of 1:49.79 down Levi's Black Course.

It was Herbst's sixth career World Cup victory, all in slaloms.

Jean-Baptiste Grange of France, last year's winner in Levi, finished third, 0.53 behind.

First-run leader Andre Myhrer of Sweden made several mistakes in the second round and dropped to 11th, 1.41 behind.

Bode Miller barely qualified for the second run, finishing 30th in the opening run to gain the last qualifying spot. The American, a former two-time overall champion, hit a gate in his second run and was disqualified.

This was Miller's first race after nearly eight months off. He had been working out for only a month before the opener.

Last season Herbst, 31, enjoyed a great January, when he won two races and secured two other podium finishes, before his season collapsed.

Reigning slalom champion Grange's performance means he begins the season as he ended the last, when he signed off with a third-place finish in Are, Sweden, on March 14.

Herbst finished last season in fifth place in the slalom classification.

The next slalom race of the season is slated to take place in Alta Badia, Italy, on December 21.


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