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Maier Wins World Cup Giant Slalom

February 15, 2001

SHIGAKOGEN, Japan (AP) _ Austria’s Hermann Maier, coming from a disappointing performance in the world championships, raced to his fourth World Cup giant slalom victory of the season Thursday.

The world and Olympic champion led both runs for a combined time of 2 minutes, 43.49 seconds.

Liechtenstein’s Marco Buechel was second in 2:45.23, and Austria’s Benjamin Raich followed in 2.45.32. Erik Schlopy, the lone U.S. competitor, finished 21st in 2:48.55.

Last week in the world championships in Austria, Maier was third in the super-G and lost to countryman Hannes Trinkl in the downhill.

Maier said he signed too many autographs, gave too many interviews, missed too many meals and attended too many receptions in Austria before getting down to of racing.

On Thursday, he was fast from the beginning, leading after the first run with a time of 1:22.21. He also finished atop the second run in 1:21.28.

``It was my best race this season,″ said Maier, who leads the overall World Cup standings. ``Maybe it’s partly because I felt little pressure today.″

Second-place Buechel had no excuses.

``I wished I could win, but Hermann was just too fast,″ he said.

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