Tomba wins his first World Championship gold

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The Independent Online
Italy's Alberto Tomba (above) won his first World Championship gold medal in Sierra Nevada yesterday when he held off a strong Swiss challenge to win the men's giant slalom.

Tomba, the most successful Alpine skier in Olympic history with three golds and two silver medals, finished the two legs of the race in 1min 58.63sec, 0.44sec ahead of Switzerland's Urs Kalin. The pre-race favourite, Michael von Grunigen, another Swiss, won bronze in 1:59.45.

Tomba, 29, who won the giant slalom and slalom at the 1988 Olympics and the giant slalom again in 1992, started first in the opening leg and opened up a time advantage of 0.03sec.

A strong second-leg run by Kalin, the Olympic silver medallist, put Tomba under pressure at the start of his second run. The Italian, nicknamed "La Bomba", made what looked like a costly mistake, drifting at a gate one third of the way down the course, but he regained his momentum to take the gold. Photograph: Reuter