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WORLD SPORT

Kostelic sets new World Cup record

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Kostelic's 30th career win means she broke Pernilla Wiberg's 1997 record

ARE, Sweden -- Croatian Janica Kostelic won the final women's giant slalom race of the season on Saturday to set a World Cup points record.

Swede Anja Paerson, who was seventh, clinched the discipline's title after finishing one place in front of Spain's Maria Jose Rienda, her only rival for the crown.

Kostelic's win, the 30th of her career, put her on 1,970 points overall and surpassed Swede Pernilla Wiberg's 1997 record by 10 points.

The 24-year-old, a double World Cup champion after securing the overall and slalom titles, beat Canada's Genevieve Simard by 0.61 seconds with her time of two minutes and 6.41 seconds.

Finland's Tanja Poutiainen and Austria's Nicole Hosp tied for third position, 1.54 behind the winner.

"That's cool, right?" said Kostelic. "Maybe next year someone will say, '10 more points to beat Janica'."

Kostelic, however, took greater satisfaction from the second giant slalom success of her career.

"My goal was to make the podium today, and I knew I had a chance. I've won a giant slalom before, but to win twice gives me the confidence that I can do well in the future in this discipline and that I have it in me.

"I was actually relaxed because it was the last race of the season and everyone is happy to be finished. When you don't think about what could happen and you just ski and relax, it goes really well."

"This is my favorite season so far, because I've won in all disciplines and I've been waiting for that for a long time," said Kostelic, who has piled up nine wins this season alongside her combined Olympic gold in Torino.

"And it's a great finish of the season for me, two victories in the last two races, it can't be better." Kostelic won the slalom race here on Friday.

It was a fitting day for Paerson to clinch the title as it coincided with the 50th birthday of Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark, who won a record 86 races during the 1970s and 1980s and who hails from Tarnaby, the same town as Paerson.

"It feels pretty good to end this season by winning a Cup after all," said Paerson, who achieved her primary goal by winning the Olympic gold in slalom at the Turin Olympics last month.

Paerson paid tribute to her compatriot Markus Larsson, who earlier on Saturday became the Swedish man in 13 years to win a World Cup race when he triumphed in the slalom.

"I was up on the top of the hill with the other Sweden girls, and I almost cried when Markus won," she said.

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