Sykora rides his luck

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The Independent Online

Thomas Sykora could be forgiven for thinking that was fortune is on his side after he survived a bumpy piste and several near-crashes to win his third World Cup slalom of the season at Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, yesterday.

"I am really freaked out about myself," the in-form Austrian said. "I can make as many mistakes as I want and still always be in front. It's incredible and I just don't understand. This season I have been unable to produce two clean runs in a race and yet I still win."

Despite almost crashing out in the second run because of a poor piste and bad visibility, Sykora managed to record a winning aggregate time of 1min 41.93sec, ahead of Sebastien Amiez, the defending slalom World Cup title-holder, and fellow Austrian Thomas Stangassinger, the 1994 Olympic slalom champion.

Sykora has won three of the four slaloms staged so far this winter and finished second in the other to take a commanding lead in the discipline's standings with 380 points.

"The conditions were extremely demanding today. It was foggy and the snow was too soft," Sykora said. "But I tried not to think about the difficulties. I just continued pushing myself down after every mistake and never stopped throwing myself into the gates."