Swiss pair are giants of slalom

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The Independent Online
Switzerland's Michael von Grunigen clinched his first World Cup win of the season with victory in a giant slalom at Alta Badia, Italy, yesterday.

The World Cup giant slalom champion clocked an unofficial combined time of 2min 32.66sec to lead home a Swiss one-two, with Steve Locher in second place.

Locher, winner of the opening giant slalom of the season in Austria in October, clocked 2:33.43, ahead of Italian newcomer Matteo Nana, who was third in 2:34.15.

Austria's Hans Knauss retains the overall World Cup lead after his closest rival and compatriot, Thomas Sykora, skied out on the first leg. Knauss was fourth in 2:34.58. The men's World Cup circuit reopens with a downhill at the Italian resort of Bormio on 29 December.

A women's World Cup Alpine giant slalom in Morzine, France, yesterday was stopped after 19 starters because of the dangerous condition of the snow.

Organisers, who had put back the start of the race three times, decided to call it a day when Italian Barbara Merlin fell on a course made too soft by warm weather. Products used to harden the snow proved inefficient.

A power breakdown and fog also hampered the race and, after watering the piste and putting salt on it - all to no effect, stewards from the international federation, the FIS, decided to halt the first leg.