Gross leads slalom World Cup, Hirscher poised to take title

KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia (AP) Overall World Cup champion Marcel Hirscher wrapped up his fourth slalom title Sunday with Austrian compatriot Michael Matt winning the penultimate race of the season.

Hirscher's fourth-place finish, 0.80 seconds behind Matt, was enough for the 28-year-old to take his third globe of the weekend after his only rival, Henrik Kristoffersen, made a huge mistake and failed to qualify for the second run.

Hirscher had an insurmountable 110-point lead over the Norwegian ahead of the World Cup finals in Aspen, Colorado, this month.

Hirscher locked up an unprecedented sixth straight overall World Cup title with five races to spare on Saturday, when he also won the giant slalom globe with his 44th career win.

''I try my best like everyone else. The last years have been going well for me,'' Hirscher said. ''Two little globes, one big globe - that's really great.''

Stefano Gross was leading after Sunday's first run, but the Italian had to settle for second with Matt edging him by 0.30 seconds after two runs for his first World Cup win.

Germany's Felix Neureuther was third, 0.46 back, ahead of Hirscher, who did enough to match Alberto Tomba's tally of four titles. Only Ingemar Stenmark, with eight, has more.

Hirscher is only the fifth male skier to reach 14 globes after Stenmark (19), Pirmin Zurbriggen (16), Marc Girardelli (15) and Hermann Maier (14).

Despite finishing ahead of Hirscher on the day, Neureuther could only marvel at the Austrian's achievements.

''Unbelievable. All the successes speak for themselves. What he does, you'll only have it once in the history of ski-sport,'' said Neureuther. ''It's my bad luck to be born at a time when Marcel Hirscher skis.''

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.