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Nef second in Sölden

Nef's giant slalom defeat was her first in more than ten months Keystone

Swiss giant slalom world champion Sonja Nef had to settle for a rare second place on Saturday as the alpine skiing World Cup season got underway in Sölden.

Nef, who is also the defending World Cup holder in the giant slalom category, appeared to be heading for yet another victory after recording the fastest time in Saturday’s first run.

But a momentary lapse near the start of her second run saw Nef lose time, allowing her Austrian rival Michaela Dorfmeister to instead take first place with an overall time of 2’28″38.

“Michaela deserved to win, she made less mistakes than me,” said a disappointed Nef after suffering what was her first defeat in the discipline since December 9 last year.

“I knew that someday I’d lose a race and that my series would come to an end,” insisted the 29-year-old Appenzeller, “But I know that I’m in form. Michaela Dorfmeister may have been more accurate than me today, but we’ve seen in the past few years that the first result has little influence on the season. I don’t think she has caught up with me just yet or that I’ve lost my winning momentum.”

The Swiss star added that she was happy to have at least taken second place and the accompanying 80 world cup points, after crossing the finish line some four-tenths of a second behind Dorfmeister. France’s Régine Cavagnoud completed an impressive comeback from a nasty crash in pre-season training to take third place.

Young Swiss skier Fränzi Aufdenblatten collected her first ever world cup points on Saturday, last year’s junior giant slalom world champion finishing the Sölden race in 21st place. There was disappointment, though, for Corinne Rey-Bellet who finished her first run in third place but ended up out of the points after losing control of her skis during the second run.

Swiss ski fans will be hoping for better luck on Sunday when men’s giant slalom world champion Michael von Grünigen begins his World Cup bid.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR