Can anybody stop Alberto Tomba?
KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia (AP) _ Can anybody stop Alberto Tomba?
The Italian star has won six World Cup races this season _ all four slaloms and two giant slaloms _ to build a huge lead in the overall standings.
In his latest triumph, Tomba powered to an overwhelming victory in a giant slalom Friday in Slovenia. He won by nearly a full second to raise his overall World Cup point total to 650 _ 334 ahead of Michael Von Gruenigen of Switzerland.
``I’m especially happy that I was able to maintain my form from the end of the year,″ Tomba said.
It was Tomba’s 39th career victory in World Cup competition, one short of Swiss ace Pirmin Zurbriggen, who is third on the list. Ingemar Stenmark is the career leader with 86.
Tomba has never won an overall World Cup title because he has declined to compete in the faster super-G and downhill races, robbing him of valuable points. But Tomba has indicated he might race in super-G later in the season if he has a chance of winning the title.
``It’s still early to talk about winning the World Cup,″ he said Friday. ``Maybe we can start talking about it in February.″
Tomba will get a chance to extend his lead even further when he races in Sunday’s slalom in Garmish-Partenkirchen, Germany. Going back to the end of last season, Tomba has won six straight slaloms.
Tomba dedicated his victory Friday to victims of the war in nearby Bosnia, where more than 200,000 people have died or disappeared since April 1992.
Tomba and other skiers wore a ``Stop The War!″ inscription on their starting bibs. A billboard at the finish carried the same message.
Both Tomba and Slovenia’s Jure Kosir pledged before the race to donate their winnings to Bosnian war victims. Tomba got $13,846 and Kosir, who finished fourth, received $3,076.
Tomba’s aggregate time for two runs was 2 minutes, 12.01 seconds. Mitja Kunc of Slovenia and Harald Christian Strand-Nilsen of Norway tied for second at 2:12.95.
Austria’s Christian Mayer, second after the first run, missed the final gate on the second and was disqualified.
It was the best showing this season for the Slovene men, cheered by some 10,000 fans.
``To finish second in front of your own people is an amazing feeling,″ Kunc said. ``I never expected it.″
Slovenia used to race as part of the Yugoslav team until it broke away from Yugoslavia in a 10-day war in the summer of 1991. War in Bosnia, less than three hours’ drive from Kranjska Gora, has raged for 32 months.