Skiing: Twin wins for Austria

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The Independent Online
AUSTRIA brought its power to bear yesterday with Thomas Stangassinger leading a home one-two in the slalom at Kitzbuhel and Anita Wachter stepping up the pressure on the women's overall World Cup leader, Pernilla Wiberg, by winning the giant slalom at Cortina D'Ampezzo, in Italy.

Stangassinger, who won the season's opening slalom in Park City, Utah, was quickest over the first leg, as he had been at Kranjska Gora earlier in the month, when he fell on the second run. This time he stood up to win by more than half a second from Thomas Sykora. Alberto Tomba, renowned for his ability to surge into contention after the first leg, could not beat Sykora's second leg through the 59 gates but he did achieve his first top three finish of the new year.

Wachter took the honours at Cortina but it was a good day for the French. Leila Piccard, the sister of Franck and Ian, took third place behind Italy's Deborah Compagnoni for her first appearance on the podium.

Carole Merle, France's giant slalom world champion, missed the event because of her continued poor form and will not go to Slovenia next week, but she has confirmed her intention to compete at the Olympics.