Sporting Digest: Skiing

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The Independent Online
Jure Kosir, of Slovenia, was the surprise leader of a floodlit men's World Cup slalom yesterday after he clocked 55.70 seconds in his first run. "It felt perfect today and I'm just glad I can still ski like that after all the problems I've had in recent years." he said after eclipsing the 56.27 set by the Austrian defending World Cup champion Thomas Sykora. Kosir's solitary World Cup success was in 1993 at Madonna di Campiglio, also in Italy. He took a bronze medal in the 1994 Olympics but has won nothing since. Sykora held on to second ahead of the Norwegian Finn Christian Jagge on 56.35 but Austria's other great hope, the Olympic champion Thomas Stangassinger, had to settle for 21st with a disappointing 57.88. The Local hero Alberto Tomba, back on the piste where he won his first World Cup races 10 years ago, skied cautiously to record 57.50 for 17th. Tomba has said this will be his last World Cup race at Sestriere and wants a good result to dedicate to his late friend Giovanni Agnelli, the heir to the FIAT car empire who died of cancer aged 33 on Saturday. Kristinn Bjornsson, the Icelander who came from nowhere to claim second place in the first slalom of the season at Park City, Utah last month, skied out early in the first leg.

Snow and poor visibility in Val d'Isere, France, yesterday forced the cancellation of training for a rescheduled women's World Cup downhill. The race, originally scheduled for Veysonnaz, Switzerland, was moved to the French resort because of a lack of snow in the Swiss Alps. Last week a women's super G and giant slalom scheduled for the French Olympic resort had to be postponed because of poor conditions while a men's downhill was moved to Val Gardena, Italy.