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Hirscher, Duerr win Moscow parallel slaloms

MOSCOW -- Unstoppable Austrian Marcel Hirscher consolidated his lead atop the overall World Cup standings with a blazing victory in the Moscow parallel slalom on Tuesday, but female counterpart Tina Maze fell short.

Hirscher beat Sweden's Andre Myhrer in the men's two-leg final, while Germany's Lena Duerr won the women's slalom after inching past Slovak Veronika Velez-Zuzulova on the man-made slope in central Moscow.

Hirscher's victory, coming just two days after his triumph in the same discipline in Kitzbuehel, was his sixth of the season and 18th of his career on the World Cup circuit.

The 23-year-old now stands 214 points ahead of Norwegian rival Aksel Lund Svindal in the overall standings, and has all but assured himself victory in the race for the slalom's crystal globe.

Svindal, like a host of other top skiers, opted out of racing in Moscow to recover fully from Kitzbuehel and prepare for the February 4-17 world championships in the Austrian resort of Schladming.

“All in all I was ahead by less than half a second,” Hirscher said of the series of knock-out races where skiers go head to head down the course.

“It's very tough to win each race against so many great racers, but I was lucky today.

“The weather is cold and today there were almost perfect conditions for this competition,” he said, bemoaning however the low crowd attendance.

“It was a good race for me but if some more spectators were to come to watch the race next year it would be really great for us.”

Croatia's Ivica Kostelic took third place by one-hundredth of a second from Germany's Felix Neureuther, who won the January 1 parallel slalom in Munich and knocked out France's reigning world slalom champion Jean-Baptiste Grange in the quarters here.

“It was a great race in great surroundings,” Kostelic said. “It was something special to compete among the great monuments.

“I could never imagine that the great Lenin (monument) would ever watch me skiing,” he said of the piste built on a 60-meter-tall and 200-meter-long scaffolding ramp at Moscow's All-Russian exhibition center, which dates from 1939 and boasts many examples of Stalinist architecture.

Hirscher's table-topping counterpart in the women's draw, Slovenia's Maze, was surprisingly knocked out in the quarterfinals by unheralded Swiss teen Wendy Holdener.

Maze, who won her seventh World Cup race of the season on home snow in Maribor on Sunday, has currently amassed 1,664 points in the overall standings and is on course to reach the symbolic total of 2000 points in a season, which only Austrian legend Hermann Maier has broken in the history of the World Cup.

Third place in the women's slalom went to 17-year-old American sensation Mikaela Shiffrin, who tightened her grip on the slalom standings.

“I tried to keep myself focused during my every single race tonight and it paid off as I managed to win the event,” said event winner Duerr, making her debut in the city slalom. “I'm really happy with my performance here.”

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Marcel Hirscher, of Austria, left, and Lena Duerr, of Germany, celebrate with their trophies on the podium after the parallel slalom at the FIS Ski World Cup in Moscow, Russia on Tuesday, Jan. 29. (AFP)

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