Nine on trot for Tomba :SKIING

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The Independent Online
Alberto Tomba won his ninth successive World Cup slalom in Wengen, Switzerland, yesterday. Leading after the first leg, he produced a scintillating second run to make it seven slaloms out of seven this season to add to two at the end of last seas on.

The Italian's winning time of 1min 33.89sec put him clear of Switzerland's Michael von Gruenigen, second in 1:35.21, and Jure Kosir of Slovenia, third in 1:35.28. Coupled with two giant slalom successes, it was Tomba's ninth World Cup win of the season, equalling his best, achieved in 1991-92.

In front of his home crowd Von Gruenigen, atoned for some dismal Swiss performances in two downhills in Wengen on Friday and Saturday, did well to improve from fourth on the first leg. He raced with a heavily strapped, dislocated shoulder, and was rewarded with useful World Cup points, but still finished 1.32sec.

Yesterday's success raised Tomba's World Cup tally to 42 and he is in record-breaking form ahead of the world championships.

Picabo Street, of the United States, who had to settle for second place in Cortina D'Ampezzo, Italy, on Friday, went one better at the same venue yesterday to secure her second World Cup downhill of the season.

The Olympic silver medallist, edged out by German Michaela Gerg-Leitner in Friday's downhill, clocked in at 1min 24.75sec. Italy's Barbara Merlin delighted home fans by coming through to take second place, 0.46sec behind Street. The German Olympic champion, Katja Seizinger, was a further 0.13sec back in third place.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 29

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