Skiing: Girardelli picks up an edge

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MARC GIRARDELLI stepped up his challenge for a record fifth overall World Cup title with his second giant slalom win in seven days as his main rival Alberto Tomba's bad luck continued.

The Austrian-born Girardelli, who skis for Luxembourg, beat Lasse Kjus, of Norway, and Fredrik Nyberg, of Sweden, at Kranjska Gora in Slovenia. Tomba, Olympic champion in this discipline, could not recover from a disastrous first run, and finished seventh. He nevertheless remains in the overall lead of the World Cup, with Girardelli just five points adrift. Girardelli is likely to go ahead tomorrow in a super-giant slalom in Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria. Tomba does not race downhills or super-g.

Peter Wirnsberger, a promising 24-year-old Austran, was killed yesterday in a skiing accident after winning a downhill race at Altenmark-Zauchensee, near Salzburg. Wirnsberger, 24 - no relation to his more famous Styrian namesake, also Peter Wirnsberger, who has retired - died instantly after crashing into a wooden fence during a brief skiing outing with his girlfriend between his victory and a delayed awards ceremony.