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Italian Skiier Simoncelli Wins His First World Cup Race - 2003-12-21

Twenty-four year old Italian Davide Simoncelli won his first World Cup ski race on Sunday finishing first in the giant slalom at the steep, winding Gran Risa course in Alta Badia, Italy. He is the first Italian man to win there since Olympic Champion Alberto Tomba back in 1994.

Simoncelli won in a combined time of two minutes and 33.90 seconds for his two runs. He finished 1.03 seconds in front of Finland's Kalle Pallander who took second place. American Bode Miller finished third. Simoncelli was the last skier on the course as he held the lead he had taken after the first run. Four of the top 10 finishers represented the home country, Italy, which has had a disappointing World Cup season so far.

The Gran Risa course had turned icy in the cold, overcast weather and Simoncelli admitted he was nervous and made several small mistakes on his second run.

But Miller said Simoncelli skiied about as well as he'd ever seen anyone ski a giant slalom course, saying the young Italian was aggressive and took huge risks.

Despite a 26th place finish in the race, Austria's Hermann Maier held onto his overall World Cup lead. The next Men's World Cup downhill race will take place next weekend in Bormio, Italy.