Skiing: Nef dedicates win to stricken team-mate

Click to follow

Sonja Nef registered yet another World Cup giant slalom victory in Val d'Isère yesterday. The Swiss reigning world champion finished 0.66sec ahead of Sweden's Anja Paerson, with Michaela Dorfmeister trailing in third.

The 29-year-old is a clear leader in the giant-slalom standings following podium finishes in the opening two events of the season. She dedicated the victory to her team-mate Silvano Beltrametti, who was paralysed in a crash on the same piste a week ago.

"It was awful to go on the piste and see the spot where he fell," Nef said. "We thought about it a lot before the race but not during the race proper. In any case, it will take a long, long time to get over what happened to him."

Paerson was happy to follow up victory in the slalom at Sestrieres less than a week ago with another good result. "I've had great training for this season," she said. "I had a good coach – my father."

Nef is a firm favourite to retain her world title but two former winners failed to finish. Croatia's Janica Kostelic, who returned from injury a week ago, fell, while Renate Goetschl, a winner in 2000, caught her ski on a gate pole.

The Frenchman Frederic Covili extended his lead at the top of the men's giant slalom standings with victory in Alta Badia, Italy. Covili beat the defending world champion, Michael Von Grünigen, of Switzerland with a time of 2min 40.58sec.

Sami Uotila of Finland managed a career-best finish of third place, while the first-run leader Bode Miller crashed out. It was Covili's second win in three World Cup races this season and he now has a commanding lead over Von Grünigen in the overall standings.

The Austrian Stephan Eberharter finished ninth following his downhill win on Saturday in Val Gardena, and he retains his lead in the World Cup standings.

It was Eberharter's third World Cup win in nine days. He beat his compatriot Michael Walchhofer by 0.22secs with the veteran Norwegian Kjetil Andre Aamodt third.

It was a disappointing day for Italy's Kristian Ghedina, winner of the first of the downhills on Friday. Ghedina was aiming to become the first man to record five victories at Val Gardena but had to settle for fourth place, 0.32 seconds behind Eberharter.