Skiing: Tomba bounces back in triumph

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ALBERTO TOMBA, stung by criticism after finishing 17th in a giant slalom, swept to his fifth victory at his home resort of Sestriere in a World Cup slalom yesterday. It was his first win in Italy for two years.

'I felt upset when I thought about Monday's result. It went right down to my stomach' Tomba said, referring to his worst reult in four years, at Val d'Isere, France. 'It was my goal to win in Sestriere, to begin to hit my peak at the time of the Italian races.'

Tomba, who said he was still suffering from a mild form of bronchitis, won by 0.75sec in 1min 58.38sec, but Austria's Thomas Stangassinger, who was second on the Kandahar piste, remains on top of the slalom World Cup standings with 260 points from three races. Norwegian Ole-Christian Furuseth posted the best second-leg time to climb from 12th to third.

It was Tomba's 31st success of his career, his second successive slalom victory after winning at Stoneham, in Canada, earlier this month and one that clearly meant a great deal to him. He sank to one knee in a mixture of exhaustion and relief after crossing the line.

Stangassinger had also been feeling ill. 'I woke up with flu and my legs had gone at the end of each run,' he said.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 35