Italy's Denise Karbon won a third straight World Cup giant slalom event here yesterday, beating her American rival Julia Mancuso. It was a sad day for Mancuso's team-mate Resi Stiegler, who was badly injured after crashing in the first leg.
Stiegler was hospitalised with a broken left forearm, a broken right shinbone, torn ligaments in the right knee and a bruised face and hip after crashing halfway down the course. She will undergo surgery in the United States and will be out of action for eight weeks, a local hospital official said.
Stiegler lost balance as her skis made contact in a curve. She fell and went through two rows of gates at the edge of the course, rolling down a two-metre slope. Those gates were supposed to break a crash and prevent the skier from dropping down the slope, but the race director, Siegried Vergeiner, denied that course security was inadequate.
"The gates at that point of the course were installed properly and eyed up by FIS officials prior to the race," Vergeiner said. "This was just very bad luck for Resi." The race was interrupted for almost half an hour after the crash.
Karbon, 27, led after the first leg and posted the fastest time in the final run as well to finish in a combined time of 2min 2.73sec. Mancuso was second, 1.28sec behind, climbing from fourth after the first leg. Nicole Gius was third, 1.62sec behind Karbon.
"I had a cautious second run because I was well ahead and I knew two spots on the course which were dangerous," said Karbon, who skipped the recent speed disciplines to concentrate on the technical races.
Mancuso said she wanted to win the race for Stiegler. "I gave everything to win it for Resi, but Denise was just incredibly fast," she said.
Mancuso posted the fourth-best time in the second leg. "The way Denise skied today, I can only be happy to finish second," she said.
Mancuso, who is the giant slalom Olympic champion but is yet to win a World Cup race in this discipline, added: "My first victory will come soon. I am sure about that."