Skiing: Unstoppable Nowen knows no bounds

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Sweden's Ylva Nowen celebrated her 28th birthday yesterday by winning her fourth consecutive women's World Cup slalom. Nowen, who had not captured a race before this season despite seven years on the circuit, won in a combined time of 1 min 27.81 sec after Urska Hrovat, of Slovenia, crashed out on the second leg at Bormio in Italy.

The two had been tied after the first run and were also level at the first split time of the second, with Hrovat following Nowen down the course. However, the Slovenian, pushing hard for her third podium finish of the season, leant heavily into a gate in sight of the finish line and slid out.

"When I saw Hrovat was level at the intermediate time I thought she'd beat me," Nowen said. "I don't know where she went wrong but, the next thing I knew, she'd fallen."

Nowen put her fourth straight victory down to growing self confidence and optimum piste conditions.

"The snow was just perfect today, especially on the first run. I was fortunate to start third when the conditions really couldn't have been better."

Germany's Hilde Gerg took second place with 1:28.53 after a fine performance on the lower part of the second run.