Pretnar clinches slalom crown

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The Independent Online

Slovenian Spela Pretnar clinched the World Cup slalom crown today after a nerve-wracking final race in Bormio, Italy, won by American Kristina Koznick.

Winner of four races this season, Pretnar needed to protect a 35-point lead over France's Christel Saioni, the only person with a chance to catch her. The slalom ended with Saioni fifth and Pretnar ninth - barely good enough to grab the title.

Pretnar, 27, and Saioni, 26, tied for first place in the season-opening slalom. The Slovenian went on to win three more races while the French skier has since failed to make the podium, finishing runnerup three times and third once.

Koznick, winner of last week's slalom in Sestriere, Italy, clinched the race in one minute, 26.23 seconds.

Anja Paerson of Sweden was second in 1:26.36, followed by unheralded Italian Elisabetta Biavaschi, third in 1:26.38.

Paerson, who has one career win from a slalom last season, has yet to triumph this season.

Leading Results from the women's final World Cup slalom in Bormio, Italy (first and second run times in parentheses):

1. Kristina Koznick, United States, one minute, 26.23 seconds (42.06-44.17). 2. Anja Paerson, Sweden, 1:26.36 (41.98-44.38). 3. Elisabetta Biavaschi, Italy, 1:26.38 (42.12-44.26). 4. Vanessa Vidal, France, 1:26.97 (42.59-44.38). 5. Christel Saioni, France, 1:27.14 (42.64-44.50). 6. Renate Goetschl, Austria, 1:27.26 (42.35-44.91). 7. Karin Koellerer, Austria, 1:27.28 (42.63-44.65). 8. Sonja Nef, Switzerland, 1:27.43 (42.45-44.98). 9. Spela Pretnar, Slovenia, 1:27.52 (42.63-44.89). 10. Sabine Egger, Austria, 1:27.60 (42.99-44.61).