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Austria’s Nierlich Nips Zurbriggen in Slalom

Associated Press

Hometown favorite Rudi Nierlich of Austria won the men’s second giant slalom of the ski season today, finishing ahead of veteran Swiss ace Pirmin Zurbriggen and Italian star Alberto Tomba.

Nierlich was fastest in the first heat and second-fastest in the second run for a winning total of 2 minutes, 44.72 seconds.

Zurbriggen was second in 2:45.10 and Tomba third in 2:45.26.

Tomaz Cizman of Yugoslavia was fourth in 2:45.55 and Austrian-born Marc Girardelli of Luxembourg finished fifth in 2:45.74.

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“I was not nervous at all today,” the 22-year-old Nierlich said, hinting that he has matured since last season, when his nerves would sometimes fail him.

“I knew that Zurbriggen was leading” midway through the second heat, he said, “but then I did not do a lot of pondering and just went down full speed.

“This was the kind of track where you had to try and ski not too aggressively but ease through the gates.”

The Austrian team was bent on getting one man among the leaders. Four Austrians, including Hans Enn, abandoned the race. Enn suffered a knee injury.

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Tomba, an Olympic double gold medalist in Calgary, Canada, last year, could have done much better had he not made a mistake in the first heat that cost him time.

A good track and the fine weather helped young, lesser known skiers starting with high starting numbers to make it into the top 30 group for the second heat.

Ole-Christian Furuseth of Norway, with starting number 51, finished sixth, and West German Michael Eder was 10th with starting number 55.

The top American was Tiger Shaw of Stowe, Vt., who finished 16th in 2:48.43.

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