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Mario Matt ends slalom drought in Val d'Isere

updated 3:28 AM EST, Mon December 16, 2013
Mario Matt won his 14th World Cup slalom to tie his fellow Austrian Benjamin Raich.
Mario Matt won his 14th World Cup slalom to tie his fellow Austrian Benjamin Raich.
  • Mario Matt won his 14th World Cup slalom when he beat the field in Val d'Isere
  • He tied fellow Austrian Benny Raich in slalom victories and won for the first time since 2011
  • Americans Ted Ligety and Bode Miller didn't feature in the second run
  • Tessa Worley won a giant slalom in St. Moritz ahead of Jessica Lindell-Vikarby

(CNN) -- The wait is over for Mario Matt.

Matt ended a nearly three-year drought on the World Cup circuit when he won the slalom on the icy Face de Bellevarde in Val d'Isere, France on Sunday.

He now has 14 slalom victories, putting him into a tie for fifth in the record books with fellow Austrian Benny Raich.

At 34, he is the oldest man to win a World Cup slalom race -- having placed second earlier this season in Finland -- and he moved to the top of the overall standings after last season's champion Marcel Hirscher failed to qualify for the second run.

"I am very happy about this result," the two-time slalom world champion was quoted as saying by the website of alpine skiing's governing body. "I was a few times on the podium in the past two years but since (Slovenia) in 2011 I couldn't win."

Matt posted the fastest time in the first run and held his nerve in the second to beat Sweden's Mattias Hargin by 0.13 seconds and Italy's Patrick Thaler by nearly 0.40 seconds.

Hargin made up ground in the second run but not quite enough. He still, though, collected his first World Cup podium in two years.

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Thaler, too, finished in the top three for the first time in a while -- since 2009.

"It's a special day for me," said the 35-year-old. "I was fighting for many years to come back on the podium and I have to thank a lot of people."

Ted Ligety had a weekend to forget in Val d'Isere.

A day after he failed to take part in the second run of a World Cup giant slalom for the first time in four years, the American didn't qualify for Sunday's second run, too.

Former overall champion Bode Miller didn't complete the first run, either.

"It was tough conditions where it was very hard snow but very grippy," U.S. men's alpine head coach Sasha Rearick told his team's website. "We've been training on ice getting ready for Val d'Isere and we didn't make that transition very well today.

"That's something we've got to work on in the future."

Read: Ligety's streak over

Worley wins in St. Moritz

At the women's giant slalom in St. Moritz, Switzerland, France's Tessa Worley beat Sweden's Jessica Lindell-Vikarby by 0.37 seconds and Slovenia's Tina Maze by 0.79 seconds.

But two big names didn't finish the first run -- overall leader Lara Gut of Switzerland and young U.S. phenom Mikaela Shiffrin. Shiffrin had bib No. 1.

"I don't know how many people actually slid out where Mikaela did," said U.S. women's alpine head coach Alex Hoedlmoser. "There were a few. The snow was aggressive and at the same time somehow a little slick, because we saw the same type of DNFs (did not finishes) multiple times today."

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