Skiing Roundup : Girardelli's Run Puts Him Close to Cup Title

From Times Wire Services

Luxembourg's Marc Girardelli was nearly flawless on his second run Sunday to capture his fourth World Cup giant slalom victory of the season at Aspen, Colo.

Girardelli, 21, edged Swedish veteran Ingemar Stenmark and Olympic champion Max Julen of Switzerland. The victory enabled Girardelli to clinch the 1985 giant slalom title, and it also put him nearly out of reach in the overall standings.

The stocky native of Austria added five points to his overall total, giving him 252 points. His closest pursuer, Switzerland's Pirmin Zurbriggen, finished fifth Sunday and failed to add any points, leaving him with 207.

"Marc is in a very good position," Zurbriggen said. "I'm not giving up, but it will be very hard to catch him."

Girardelli, fifth after the first run which was contested in a snowstorm, blew away his competition with a time of 1 minute 14.12 seconds in the second run for a combined time of 2:27.40.

Stenmark, winner of 79 World Cup races but a non-winner this season, was second to Julen after the first heat and wound up at 2:27.72. Julen faded to third with a 1:15.31 in the second run for a combined time of 2:27.86.

Alex Giorgi of Italy was fourth in 2:27.96, followed by Zurbriggen in 2:28.02.

The day was marred by a dispute over what format to use. Originally, officials said a new, experimental format would be in effect, with the top 30 finishers in the first run competing in inverse order in the second. That meant the first-run leader would be skiing 30th in the second run, a position the top skiers didn't like because of a deteriorating course.

An appeal by two coaches resulted in officials deciding just before the race to return to the traditional format of inverting only the top five first-run skiers. Serge Lang, World Cup founder and president, threatened to declare it a non-World Cup race unless the experimental format was reinstated, but he eventually relented and the second run came off under the usual format.

West Germany's Marina Kiehl won her second super-giant slalom race in a row, inching ahead of Swiss sensation Michela Figini in the World Cup giant slalom standings at Banff, Canada.

The 20-year-old Munich native won her fourth career World Cup victory in a time of 1:23.29, four-tenths of a second ahead of Figini (1:23.70), who captured the downhill title Friday on Banff's technically demanding "Great Divide" course.

"I knew I had to beat her," Kiehl said. "Today I really wanted to beat her. But I went off to the side and told myself I wanted to beat everybody."

Kiehl said she almost missed one of the 37 gates on the narrow course--an error which would have disqualified her.

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