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Von Grünigen seizes opportunity of Maier disqualification

Michael von Grünigen (right) congratulates second-placed Heinz Schilchegger

(Keystone)

Switzerland's Michael von Grünigen took advantage of the disqualification of Austrian rival Hermann Maier to win his second men's World Cup Alpine skiing giant slalom of the season on Sunday.

Von Grünigen lay second behind Austria's Heinz Schilchegger after the first leg but produced a typically elegant second run in bright sunshine on France's Val d'Isère OK piste to push the Austrian into second.

The Swiss skier's win lifted him into first place in the standings above Maier, who was disqualified an hour before the race for exceeding the time limit during a pre-race piste inspection.

Organisers said the Austrian Olympic and defending giant slalom champion was still on the piste after the 0845 deadline for getting off the course. Maier said there was no official clock on the piste to warn skiers of the deadline.

Despite an appeal from the Austrian team the ban was maintained.

Von Grünigen, who won the second giant slalom of the season at Park City last month, clocked a provisional combined winning time of two minutes 31.33 seconds to Schilchegger's 2:31.92. Compatriots Didier Defago, Paul Accola and Didier Cuche were placed tenth, twelfth and twenty-sixth respectively.

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