Skiing: Maier clinches double while at home with his feet up

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The Independent Online
HERMANN MAIER took two World Cup titles while relaxing in Austria at the weekend. Forced to stay at home because of a back injury, the double Olympic champion clinched both the overall men's World Cup and the super- giant slalom titles when two team-mates with a chance of catching him skidded out of races in Kvitfjell, Norway.

Maier, who crashed out of the downhill at last month's Nagano Olympics in spectacular fashion but won both the super-G and giant slalom golds, became the first Austrian to win the men's overall title since Karl Schranz in 1970.

With Maier dominating the World Cup without even putting on his boots, his team-mate Hans Knauss won yesterday's super-G on the 1994 Lillehammer Olympic course ahead of Sweden's Patrik Jaerbyn and Switzerland's Didier Cuche.

France's Nicolas Burtin broke the Austrian stranglehold on Alpine skiing by winning his first downhill on Saturday, bouncing back from a string of knee injuries that had threatened to blight his career.

Maier has 1,625 points in the overall standings, ahead of team- mate Andreas Schifferer on 1,054 with just four races left. Schifferer fell in Saturday's downhill when he needed a win to keep alive his slim hopes.

On Sunday, the Austrian Stephan Eberharter, needing a victory to give him hope of catching Maier for the super-G crown, also fell.