Skiing: Fourth in a row for Maier

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Hermann Maier surprised only himself yesterday when the Austrian won a giant slalom for his seventh World Cup success of the season.

The win in Adelboden, Switzerland, was the fourth consecutive triumph for the Austrian, who is racing in a class of his own - all four wins coming by more than second.

Looking more and more likely to become the first Austrian man since Karl Schranz in 1970 to claim the overall World Cup title, Maier left his teammates and Swiss rivals way behind. The former bricklayer clocked a total time of two minutes 20.08 seconds, well ahead of the injured giant slalom world champion, Michael Von Grunigen of Switzerland, who was second in 2:21.32.

Paul Accola, the Swiss veteran, was only third, one hundredth of a second back.

"I surprised myself today," Maier said. "I can't believe I skied so well because I have not trained any giant slalom since Saalbach. But you accumulate confidence when you win and you just ski and take all the risks."

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