Karbon wins GS; Mancuso in 2nd | AspenTimes.com

Karbon wins GS; Mancuso in 2nd

Eric Willemsen
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
Denise Karbon, of Italy, passes a gate on her way to setting the fastest time during the first run of an alpine ski, women's World Cup giant slalom race, in Lienz, Austria, Friday, Dec. 28, 2007. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)

LIENZ, Austria ” Denise Karbon won her third straight World Cup giant slalom event Friday.

The 27-year-old Italian led after the first leg and posted the fastest time in the final run to finish in a combined time of 2 minutes, 2.73 seconds.

American Julia Mancuso finished second, 1.28 seconds behind, moving from fourth after the opening leg. Nicole Gius of Italy was third, 1.62 seconds behind Karbon.

“I had a cautious second run because I was well ahead and I knew two spots on the course which were dangerous,” Karbon said.

Mancuso said she wanted to win the race for teammate Resi Stiegler, who crashed and broke her left forearm in the first leg.

“I gave everything to win it for Resi, but Denise was just incredibly fast,” Mancuso said.

Stiegler, America’s giant slalom national champion, was hospitalized with a broken arm, a broken right shinbone, torn ligaments in the right knee and a bruised face and hip after crashing halfway down the course. Stiegler will undergo surgery in the United States and will be sidelined for eight weeks, a hospital official said.

Stiegler, who started with No. 24, lost balance as her skies made contact on a curve. She fell and sled off course through two rows of gates at the edge of the course and rolled about 6 feet.

Those gates were supposed to break a crash and prevent the skier from dropping down the slope, but race director Siegried Vergeiner denied the course security was inadequate.

“The gates at that point of the course were installed properly and eyed up by FIS officials prior to the race,” Vergeiner said. “This was just very bad luck for Resi.”

The race was interrupted almost half an hour after the crash.

Mancuso posted the fourth best time in the second leg.

“The way Denise skied today, I can only be happy to finish second,” said Mancuso, who is the Olympic giant slalom champion. “My first victory will come soon. I am sure about that.”

Gius forfeited time after losing control of a ski in the early part of her second run.

“I did not believe that I still finished third after that error,” Gius said.

Defending discipline and overall World Cup champion Nicole Hosp was 16th.

Overall World Cup leader Lindsey Vonn, who won a downhill and a super-combi last week, finished the opening leg in 38th place, 2.29 seconds behind, and did not qualify for the second leg.

Vonn maintained her lead in the rankings with 474 points, followed by Mancuso (444) and Nicole Hosp of Austria (434).

After three races, Karbon leads the World Cup giant slalom standings with 300 points, followed by Mancuso (186) and Elisabeth Goergl of Austria (159), who finished fourth.

The slalom event is Saturday.

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