Skiing: Tomba proves quick off mark: Olympic champion opens account

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ALBERTO TOMBA, of Italy, celebrated his first World Cup victory of the season in the men's slalom at Stoneham, Quebec, yesterday. In ideal conditions Tomba recorded a combined time of 1min 47.57sec for two runs down a fast 65-gate course.

After finishing 15th in the first run, Tomba was perhaps over-eager to make amends and had a false start in the second run. 'I heard the starter say ready, go and I went. But by the time I got to the first gate he was yelling, 'Stop, stop, stop'. I'm not sure what happened, but I know I won,' Tomba said of his 19th slalom win and 30th overall World Cup victory.

Thomas Stangassinger, of Austria, was second in 1:47.69 and Jurs Kosir, of Slovenia, finished third in 1:48.47.

The three-times Olympic champion Tomba last won on the World Cup circuit in a slalom in Garmisch in January. He narrowly missed victory last week in the first slalom of the season in Park City, Utah, finishing second by just two hundredths of a second.

Deborah Compagnoni yesterday secured her first World Cup giant slalom victory when she recorded an impressive second run at Tignes, France, to rein in and overtake the first- run lead enjoyed by the Austrian Anita Wachter. Compagnoni's determined performance in the second and a series of errors by Wachter on the middle section meant that the Italian was 0.68sec quicker on that leg, her overall winning margin being 0.24sec.

Canada's Kate Pace won the downhill at Tignes on Saturday to secure 11th place in the overall World Cup standings.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 31