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January 19, 1997

ANTERSELVA, Italy (AP) _ The undefeated German men led from the start to win their third straight biathlon World Cup 4x7.5-kilometer relay Sunday, and Russia took its third consecutive women’s relay.

The German quartet finished in 1 hour, 23 minutes, 31.9 seconds, 21.5 seconds ahead of Italy.

The United States completed the course in 1:28:23.7 with faultless shooting to finish 12th.

Germany leads the season standings with a perfect 90 points from three races. Norway is second with 76 points. The United States is tied with the Czech Republic for 16th with 28 points.

In the women’s 4x7.5-kilometer relay, the Russian women won in 1:36:20.5. Norway was next in 1:38:15.7.

The Russian women also are perfect with full 90 points. Norway has 74. The United States, 11th Sunday, is tied with the Czech Republic and Sweden for 12th overall, with 39 points.

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MIOLA DI PINE, Italy (AP) _ Dutch skaters Bob De Jong and Carla Zijlstra eclipsed rink records during easy victories in World Cup speedskating Sunday.

De Jong, the 1995 world junior champion, won the men’s 10,000-meter race in 13 minutes, 51.56 seconds, 19.73 seconds ahead of Belgium’s Bart Veldkamp.

The old rink mark of 14:09.89 was established by Rintje Ritsma, when in the 1995 world championships.

Zijlstra skated 7:18.59 to win the women’s 5,000-meter event, easily defeating Kirstin Holum of the United States.

The old 5,000-meter rink record of 7:41.23 was set at the 1993 Italian national championships by Elena Belci, who was sixth Sunday.

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IGLS, Austria (AP) - German’s Georg Hackl won his latest confrontation with Austria’s Markus Prock on Sunday, and with it his second men’s singles title in the Luge World Championships.

The head-to-head battle was the continuation of a rivalry dating to the last two Olympics, when Hackl beat Prock for both gold medals.

On Sunday, Hackl had a two-run time of 1 minute, 38.277 seconds. Prock settled for second with an aggregate time of 1:38.513.

For the first time since 1991, the United States failed to medal. Wendel Suckow of Marquette, Mich., the 1993 world champ, was sixth; Duncan Kennedy of Lake Placid, N.Y., 10th, and Adam Heidt, also of Lake Placid, was 21st.

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LAHTI, Finland (AP) _ Once-dominant Vladimir Smirnov of Kazakhstan beat favored Finn Mike Myllyla to win the men’s 30-kilometer classical-style World Cup race Sunday.

The 32-year old Smirnov has acknowledged that he is no more the skier who won two World Cup titles, an Olympic gold medal and four world championship races, especially as his health was below par last month.

But he showed that he is still closing in on championship form, with the worlds coming up in Lillehammer, Norway, in one month.

Smirnov beat Myllyla by 25 seconds for his first victory this season. He moved from 17th to eighth in the standings. Reigning champion Bjorn Dahlie of Norway, who skipped the event is the leader with 448 points. Fulvio Valbusa of Italy is second with 382.

Italy’s Sabina Valbusa and Stefania Belmondo won a women’s sprint relay, edging Nina Gavrilyuk and Jelena Valbe of Russia by 0.7 seconds.

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KOENIGSSEE, Germany (AP) _ Reto Goetschi piloted Switzerland II to victory, and series leader Switzerland was a close second in a four-man World Cup bobsled here Sunday.

Goetschi steered his sled down the course in two heats with a total time of 1 minute, 34.93 seconds. Goetschi’s first heat of 47.33 seconds set a new course record was matched by Switzerland I, piloted by Marcel Roehner.

Switzerland I had a two-heat time of 1:34.95.

The Germany I and Germany III sleds shared third place, followed by Austria I.

After five of seven events, Switzerland I leads the standings with 151 points, five more than Germany II.

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