Tessa Worley claims more giant slalom glory

France's Tessa Worley continued her domination of women's giant slalom by winning her third race in succession in Semmering yesterday.

The 21-year-old, a winner in Aspen and St Moritz this season, took top place on the podium with a combined time of two minutes and 9.66 seconds. Worley's winning streak emulated former world champion Carole Merle, the last French skier to win three giant slaloms in a row in 1992. "I'm skiing on another planet right now," said Worley. She beat the German pair of Maria Riesch and Kathrin Hoelzl, with slalom world champion Riesch 0.62 seconds behind. "I'm a little bit surprised even though I knew I could ski well," added Worley. "I worked a lot on my foot technique in the summer and on avoiding mistakes. My ski is much more stable now."

Consolation for Riesch came with her taking top spot in the overall World Cup standings, 41 points ahead of her American rival and friend Lindsey Vonn. "Let's not talk about the standings even though this is cool. I must keep focused because we're not even halfway through and a million things can happen," said Riesch, who will defend her crown in today's floodlit slalom which she won a year ago.

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Vonn fared well in her least favourite event, finishing seventh, 1.40 off the pace. For world champion Hoelzl, who trailed Worley by 0.78, a podium placing was a notable achievement as the German had spent the last few days in bed with bronchitis.

Meanwhile, Canadian skier Louis-Pierre Helie and Marco Sullivan of the United States were both airlifted to a local hospital after crashing in a World Cup downhill training session. Helie's crash was more serious, involving a hard landing, and he was picked up from the icy Stelvio course by a helicopter. The Canadian team said he suffered a head injury, while local organisers said he briefly lost consciousness then woke up during the flight to the hospital.

Sullivan, the first skier out of the gate, lost control while landing a jump midway down. He eventually got up and skied down under his own power, and then was brought by helicopter to a hospital in Sondalo. Sullivan was on the verge of losing consciousness but then recovered, organisers said, adding that he had no other significant injuries.