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SKIING : Accola Beats Tomba in Slalom and Catches Him in Standings

From Associated Press

Switzerland’s Paul Accola beat Alberto Tomba for the second consecutive day, winning a men’s World Cup slalom Saturday and pulling abreast of Tomba in the overall standings.

Accola, winner of Friday’s giant slalom after finishing runner-up to Tomba in two season-opening races the previous weekend, charged from .39 seconds off the pace after the first run to overtake first-run leader Tomba, who had problems on the upper portion of his second run.

Accola had a mistake-free second run of 52.00 seconds--eclipsed only by Austrian Bernhard Gstrein’s 51.79--for a combined time of 1 minute 43.92 seconds.

Tomba, with a second run of 52.68, fell into a tie for second place with Sweden’s Tomas Fogdoe at 1:44.21. Fogdoe was eighth after the first run but clocked a 52.00 in the second heat.

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“What can I say?” the jubilant Accola said in the finish area. “It’s just like yesterday. I feel great. This is a great start for me, but it’s a long season.”

Tomba, the powerful Italian who is pursuing his first overall title, had his goggles knocked askew early in his second run and had to readjust them.

“I lost my vision for a moment and it slowed me down,” he said. “I’m a little disappointed.

“The first weekend (at Park City, Utah) belonged to me, and the second weekend belonged to him.”

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Finn Christian Jagge of Norway finished fourth at 1:44.33, and Gstrein rebounded from 15th place after the first heat to place fifth in 1:44.62.

Matt Grosjean of Steamboat Springs, Colo., rapidly emerging as one of the top hopes on the young U.S. men’s team, finished in 11th place in 1:45.41, dropping from fourth after the initial run.

Accola’s victory put him into a tie with Tomba for the World Cup overall standings lead with 360 points. Accola, winless in five seasons on the circuit before Friday’s race, now appears to be a serious contender in the overall race, which was expected to be a duel between Tomba and Marc Girardelli of Luxembourg.


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