Historic victory for Strobl

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The Independent Online
Josef Strobl made history yesterday by becoming the only skier to have won the first World Cup downhill he has entered.

The 20-year-old Austrian cut short French celebrations of a first home victory at Val d'Isere for 28 years by storming out of the 61st start position to snatch victory in the opening downhill of the season from Luc Alphand. The Frenchman was convinced that his time of 1min 57.41sec would not be beaten but Strobl, who was fastest in practice on Thursday, pipped him by 11 hundredths of a second. Two more Austrians, Gunther Mader and Patrick Ortlieb were third and fourth.

"I only hoped to finish among the top 30", said Strobl, a former junior world champion.

Alphand was stunned. "It's a big shock because, after an hour, I really thought I had won it at last," Alphand said. "But to be second is my best result." The Frenchman came third in Sunday's opening super-giant slalom in Tignes, which Ortlieb won.