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25/11/2017 - 10:43
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FIS Ski Federation

Croatian Olympic Comittee
Soelden (AUT), 23.10.2004.
Strong start for Janica Kostelic in Soelden
Croatia's Janica Kostelic, who scored her very first World Cup points here in October 1998, finished an unexpected 8th in that race after clocking the 4th best time in the first run.

It was her first competition on the World Cup tour since the 2003 Finals in Lillehammer where she collected her second Overall title. She had to skip the entire last season because of another knee injury and a serious problem with her thyroid which had to be taken away last January.

She achieved her best performance here in entering for the first time the top-10. She was once 11th and twice 12th here in past years!

"It's my best season start, so I can only be happy, I did much better than expected," a beaming Kostelic said. "This result means that I trained well and that I can improve my form in the coming months. I don't expect too much yet, I mainly want to stay healthy and have fun. I missed racing a lot last winter, ski racing is all my life."

In the first run in which she started in 11th position, she only lost 1,35 seconds on Anja Paerson who won her 23rd World Cup race, and 1,11 seconds on the Swede in the second run.

She only lost one second on Spain's Maria Jose Rienda-Contreras, who came in 3rd. "I didn't ski that well today, so I'm more than pleased by my ranking," Janica added. "I lost some time at the end of the first run on the flat section where I did mistakes which I normally don't do," she also explained. "It's definitely a positive day even if I don't want to give too much importance to this result. You never know what can happen, but it's certainly a strong boost for our team."

Janica, who returned on snow at the end of last spring, only started to train hard during the past two months while skiing in Zermatt and Hintertux. She will have more time to improve her rhythm in the coming weeks. The next World Cup races only take place in a month in Aspen, Colorado, where she already won a slalom in the past.

A great group of happy Croatian fans supported her on her way down the slope and strongly applauded her at the arrival. "It's good to be back here, I did well in this race in the previous years."

Her rivals also congratulated her after her arrival. "It's good to see her back on the tour" said Paerson. "I'm happy that some big personalities as Janica Kostelic or Karen Putzer skied among the top-10 in today's race."

"It's important for our sport that there is much competition between us. It's great for the tour that Janica is healthy again and skiing so well. She is a huge star in our sport. The tougher the races are, the more interesting it becomes for the spectators and for us."
Ivica Kostelic official website
Croatian ski team official website
Vip Snow Queen Trophy
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