Skiing: Tomba surrenders title

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The Independent Online
Italians descended on Sestriere in their thousands yesterday, blocking approaches to the World Championship venue to watch their prince of the piste, Alberto Tomba, defend his giant slalom title.

In the event, La Bomba, who has had a disappointing season, bombed out one minute into the first run, leaving Switzerland's Michael Von Grunigen to take his first championship gold medal. Von Grunigen, the giant slalom World Cup holder, clocked a combined time over the two legs of 2min 48.23sec. The Norwegian Lasse Kjus won his third silver of the championships, with Austria's Andreas Schifferer a surprise third.

Tomba, starting 16th after last month losing his place in the top 15 seeds for the first time in a decade, lost his balance at the top, recovered but then got into worse trouble before skiing to a halt at the side of the course.

"I took the edge off my skis because the course was very twisty. Unfortunately, there were two icy gates and I couldn't control them," said Tomba, who also had trouble with the course passing into and out of sunny patches.