Skiing; Meissnitzer confirms Austrian revival

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The Independent Online

Alexandra Meissnitzer, the new darling of the Austrian team, continued her superb form this season by winning a women's alpine World Cup super- giant slalom in Veysonnaz, Switzerland, yesterday.

Austria was deprived of a one-two by Switzerland's Heidi Zurbriggen, who nipped into second place ahead of with Michaela Dorfmeister. Meissnitzer, the overall World Cup leader who has five times finished in the top three in as many races, clocked 1min 28.72sec, Zubriggen 1:28.90 and Dorfmeister 1:29.17.

The race was held up for 30 minutes after Florence Masnada fell heavily after crossing the finish line. The 27-year-old Frenchwoman was flown to hospital and was later ruled out for the rest of the season after doctors operated on a dislocated right hip.

Masnada has been particularly unfortunate. The winner of one race, a super-G in Garmisch-Partenkirchen last season, she has missed three full seasons through injury.

Meissnitzer knows no such problems and has been catapaulted into prominent position in an Austrian team that is regaining the strength associated with one of the sport's traditional powers as the season progresses.

Her first victory came in the super-G in Val d'Isere two weeks ago. She then placed third in a giant slalom in the same French resort, and she was third and second in two downhills during last weekend's Austrian dominated races at St Anton.