SKIING: Hrovat's tight win

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The Independent Online
Urska Hrovat, of Slovenia, beat Switzerland's Vreni Schneider by less than a tenth of a second to win the women's World Cup slalom at Meribel, France, yesterday.

Schneider led after the first heat in poor weather conditions. The morning run was done in a light rain and a fog suddenly descended during the middle of the second run. Warm temperatures contributed to made the course soft and slow.

It was the second career victory for Hrovat, who had a time of 1min 20.15sec for the two runs. Schneider, who won the first two slaloms of the season, produced 1:20.24. Third place went to Leila Piccard, of France, with 1:20.74.

Heidi Zeller-Baehler, of Switzerland, who did not take part in the race, held on to the overall lead in the World Cup standings with 485 points although Schneider's second place moved her closer with 466.

A men's giant slalom at Meribel was cancelled last week and there was barely enough snow to handle the short women's race. Falls on the slippery course eliminated Beatrice Filliol, of France, and Deborah Campagnoni, of Italy, on the first run.

The women have a New Year's break and their next races are scheduled for Haus-im-Ennstal, Austria, with a super-G and giant slalom on 7-8 January. The men return with a giant slalom tentatively set for Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, on 6 January with a slalom at Garmisch-Partenkirichen, Germany, two days later.