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Compagnoni wins fourth GS of season

January 18, 1997

ZWIESEL, Germany (AP) _ She doesn’t like the course. She’s just gotten over a flu. She didn’t feel comfortable. At the end, however, Deborah Compagnoni had nothing to complain about.

The 26-year-old Italian showed Friday why she is the reigning Olympic and world champion in the giant slalom.

Compagnoni blitzed down the icy, tight and bumpy Hordhang course to win the fourth giant slalom of the World Cup season by a whopping 1.16 seconds over Anita Wachter of Austria.

She secured her victory with a tremendous run, when she opened a 1.08-second lead over Katja Seizinger of Germany. Seizinger fell in the second run and all Compagnoni had to do was complete the second heat.

``I was surprised by my victory and especially by my first run. I don’t really like the course, it’s just straight down. I also had the flu a few days ago and I really didn’t feel comfortable. I was just trying to have a clean run,″ Compagnoni said.

``It’s an important victory because I’d been looking for a giant slalom win the whole season,″ said the Italian, who won a slalom in December in Austria.

``When Katja fell, I knew all I had to do was complete the run,″ said Compagnoni, who posted her second victory of the season. Her combined time for the two runs was two minutes, 8.45 seconds.

Compagnoni hadn’t trained for a week because of the flu and was using a new pair of skis just for the third time.

Wachter, the 1993 World Cup champion, clinched second place in a giant slalom for the third straight time, clocking a time of 2:09.61.

``I slept only two hours, I was really very tired,″ said Wachter, who is taking antibiotics to fight the cold.

``Debbie is now really in good form, you need to put together two perfect runs to beat her,″ Wachter said.

Seizinger lost ground in her fight to retain the overall World Cup title.

Pernilla Wiberg of Sweden extended her lead by jumping from sixth to third with a blistering second run that gave her an aggregate time of 2:09.92 through the 45 gates.

Wiberg collected 60 points for finishing third and raised her leading total to 923. Seizinger has 649.

``I had a lot of luck to finish third, I was really aiming to be in the top 10,″ Wiberg said. ``I have been improving in the giant slalom since the start of the season but I am still surprised.″

``I am still concentrating on the slalom, because my goal for the season is to win the slalom title and to win a downhill.

``Although I am not thinking of the overall title, it will come if you collect points in all events,″ Wiberg said.

Compagnoni won a slalom Dec. 29 in Semmering, Austria, and clinched the ninth victory of her career Friday _ the sixth in a giant slalom.

By collecting 100 points for her victory, Compagnoni took over the World Cup lead in the event with 260 points. She also has two second places this season.

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