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Skiing: Hat-trick no worry for Maier

HERMANN MAIER believes he can complete his hat-trick of World Championship gold medals in today's giant slalom.

Switzerland's Erika Hess won three at the 1982 Schladming championships but nobody has repeated the feat.

Maier, the newly crowned super-giant slalom and downhill world champion, is also the Olympic giant slalom champion and overwhelming favourite.

But he said yesterday he will need two near-perfect runs to have a chance."If I make mistakes then there are enough others who can win," he said. The Swiss defending champion, Michael Von Grunigen, Italy's Patrick Holzer, Stephan Eberharter and the Austrain newcomer, Benjamin Raich pose the main threat.

"For me it was important to win gold in the opening super-G. That took the pressure off,"Maier said. "After two golds you forget about race tactics."