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Compagnoni Wins Giant Slalom

December 19, 1997

VAL D’ISERE, France (AP) _ Deborah Compagnoni kept her winning streak alive Friday. Katja Seizinger lost hers.

Compagnoni rallied from fourth place after the first run to win her eighth straight giant slalom, ending Seizinger’s overall winning streak at six races.

Despite injuring her left hand when she hit it on a gate, Seizinger led Compagnoni by .65 seconds after the first run. Shortly after the midway point of the second run _ where she still led by .46 seconds _ Seizinger hooked a gate, went off balance and skied off the course.

Compagnoni’s winning time for the two runs was 2 minutes, 18.83 seconds. Her second run was 1:09.66, nearly a half-second faster than the rest of the field.

She has not lost since last January in a giant slalom. She won the Olympic giant slalom title in 1994, and the last two world championships. Her streak includes seven World Cup races and the world title last February.

``What is needed to beat me is an easy slope like this, a speed slope, But I won anyway,″ she said. ``This type of race favors the downhillers. I prefer the races with more turns.″

It was the Italian’s 15th career World Cup victory and third this season.

``Maybe it would be better to lose a World Cup race rather than lose at the Olympics,″ Compagnoni said.

Compagnoni said she was not worried after trailing after the first run.

``I thought it was possible to win,″ she said. ``At Sierra Nevada at the World Championships (in 1996), I was fifth after the first run.″

This was her first race since Nov. 28 at Mammoth Mountain, Calif., where she finished ninth in a parallel race.

``I was a little cautious on the first run, but it was still fast,″ she said.

Despite the defeat, Seizinger still has a commanding lead in the overall World Cup standings with 743 points, far ahead of German teammate Hilde Gerg, second with 504.

With a chance still for a victory in the combined, Seizinger wants to compete in Saturday’s slalom. She said she was afraid of having X-rays taken on her injured hand for fear of finding something broken or fractured.

After the first run, Seizinger had her left hand taped and she appeared cautious on the second before veering off course.

``I don’t recall the accident,″ Seizinger said. ``But suddenly I saw stars.″

She said she had problems holding the pole and pushing off at the start of the second run.

``But that wasn’t the reason I went out,″ Seizinger said. ``My right ski hit some snow and I couldn’t control it.″

Seizinger’s previous loss also was in the parallel race at Mammoth Mountain. Since then, she had won three downhills and three super-Gs, including the first two races at Val d’Isere.

She won a super-G Thursday, tying the World Cup record for consecutive victories set by former French star Jean-Claude Killy in January 1967.

Germany’s Martina Ertl, who trailed Seizinger by only .01 second after the first run, made two major mistakes on the second and finished 20th in 2:22.27.

Alexandra Meissnitzer of Austria finished second at 2:18.93, and France’s Leila Piccard was third at 2:20.02. Meissnitzer also was second to Compagnoni in the last World Cup giant slalom at Park City, Utah.

Pernilla Wiberg of Sweden, last season’s World Cup winner but making her season debut after injuring a knee in October, finished ninth at 2:21.27.

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