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Von Grünigen pipped to podium as Herminator beats all

Von Grünigen finished over a second behind Maier

(Keystone)

Switzerland's Michael von Grünigen narrowly missed out on a podium place in the first men's giant slalom race of the new skiing season. Austria's Hermann Maier was as impressive as ever, winning the opener in Sölden by more than a second

The man known as the 'Herminator' finished his first run more than three tenths of a second quicker than the rest of the field, a margin which he then widened with an almost flawless final run.

Von Grünigen, on the other hand, had been third quickest on his first run but then slipped down a place after misjudging a turn near the start of his second run.

Stephan Eberharter completed a good day for Austria, finishing 1"01 behind Maier to take second place. Sweden's Fredrik Nyberg was third, three hundredths of a second behind Eberharter and 18 hundredths ahead of Von Grünigen.

Didier Couche and Steve Locher were the next best-place Swiss skiers, finishing in seventh and 15th place respectively. Paul Accola and Urs Kälin were both outside of the top 20.

On Saturday there was disappointment for Switzerland's women skiers as they began their season with a giant slalom race on the same course. Corinne Rey-Bellet produced the best of the Swiss performances to finish 12th while Sonja Nef, one of the discipline's pre-season favourites dropped down to 15th following a nervous second run.

swissinfo with agencies



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