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Swiss take top spots at Semmering slalom

Sonja Nef skied to victory in the women's world cup giant slalom race in Austria

(Keystone)

Switzerland's Sonja Nef and Corinne Rey Bellet have taken first and second place in the women's world cup giant slalom race in Austria.

The duo scored the first double-win for Switzerland since Michael von Grünigen and Steve Locher won the giant slalom in Sierra Nevada in 1999.

Nef clocked a combined time of 2 minutes, 23.16 seconds, on a track that many racers described as extremely difficult due to varied weather conditions and changing light.

The 28-year-old Appenzeller, who came second in the World Cup slalom Thursday night, is enjoying her regained top form this season. She has won giant slalom races at Park City, Utah, and Sestriere, Italy.

Saturday's win was her third victory of the season and the seventh of her career.

Rey-Bellet came in less than a second behind Nef with a time of 2 minutes, 23.79 seconds. Her placement on Saturday puts her back on the awards podium, in the giant slalom category, for the first time since 1992.

Third place went to the American skier, Sarah Schleper, while Switzerland's Lilian Kummer took eighth place.

Racers had to contend with light snowfall and the kind of flat light created by overcast conditions that makes seeing the snow profile difficult.

In the first run, visibility was low and in the second, the sun came out but wind in the trees sent powdery snow showering over the skiers, further hampering vision.

swissinfo with agencies

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