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Grandi Wins Giant Slalom Ski Event in Alta Badia


Canadian skiier Thomas Grandi won the giant slalom event in Alta Badia, Italy, Sunday for his first World Cup victory in 12 seasons on the circuit.

Second after the first run, Grandi covered the steep and twisting Gran Risa course in a two-run combined time of two minutes and 34.23 seconds. The Italian-born Grandi came into the world near Alta Badia, and his victory was celebrated as if he were a local.

Benjamin Raich of Austria skied an impressive second run to move up from 10th after the first leg to finish in second place, just over a half-second back. Switzerland's Didier Cuche and defending overall champion Hermann Maier of Austria tied for third, almost one second back.

The victory makes Grandi the first Canadian man to win a World Cup race since Cary Mullen at Aspen, Colorado in 1994.

Bode Miller of the United States, who has won six of 13 races this season, missed a gate and did not finish his second run. He is still the overall World Cup leader with 798 points. Maier is second with 479, while his countryman Benjamin Raich is third with 456.

Meanwhile, Finnish ski-jumper Janne Ahonen overcame rain and wind to win his second straight World Cup event in Engelberg, Switzerland.

After winning Saturday's ski jump, Ahonen produced leaps of 134 and 135 meters for 260.7 points Sunday, edging Jakub Janda of the Czech Republic by the tiny margin of 0.4 points. Austria's Martin Hoellwarth was third with 258.3 points, after jumps of 130 and 133.5 meters.

With the victory, Ahonen became the first person to win seven of the first eight World Cup events.

Ahonen now leads the discipline standings with 780 points. Janda is a distant second with 448, while Hoellwarth is in third place with 397.

Elsewhere, Frenchman Raphael Poiree and his wife Liv Grete Poiree of Norway won the men's and women's mass start biathlon races in Ostersund, Sweden, for their first World Cup victories of the season.

Raphael Poiree, the defending overall men's champion, missed just one target as he took the men's 15-kilometer race in 38 minutes, 46.85 seconds. It was his 35th career World Cup win, but his first in eight races this season.

Sergei Rozhkov of Russia finished second, 11.4 seconds behind after two missed targets. Another Russian, Ivan Therezov, finished third, 20.3 seconds behind with one miss.

Poiree has 342 points after eight events and extended his World Cup lead over Germany's Sven Fischer, who finished fourth Sunday, to 58 points. Stian Eckhoff of Norway is third with 254.

Liv Grete Poiree finished the women's 12.5-kilometer event in 38 minutes and 49.00 seconds. Olga Zaitseva of Russia was the runner-up, 5.8 seconds behind, and Poiree's Norwegian teammate Linda Tjorhom was third, 17.4 seconds back. All three missed two targets each.

With the win, Liv Grete Poiree moved to eighth place in the overall standings with 189 points.

Russia's Olga Pyleva, who placed fourth, retained the lead with 284 points ahead of Zaitseva (283) and France's Sandrine Bailly (260).

Some information provided by AP and AFP.