St. Anton, Austria Jan. 29 (AP by Erica Bulman)--France's Regine Cavagnoud won the super giant slalom title and the powerful Austrians were shut out Monday in the opening event of skiing's world championships.
Cavagnoud, who won the last three World Cup super-G races, had a winning time of 1 minute, 23.44 seconds on the Gertrud Gabl course for her first major international title.
Italy's Isolde Kostner was .05 seconds behind in second and Germany's Hilde Gerg took the bronze in 1:23.52. Megan Gerety of the United States was fourth.
Another American, Kirsten Clark, was ninth. She was followed by Canada's Melanie Turgeon, the runner-up at the last two World Cup super-Gs.
Facing big expectations on home snow, the Austrians failed to place a skier in the top seven. Former World Cup overall champion Alexandra Meissnitzer, who struggled in her comeback this season following knee injuries, finished eighth in the top Austrian performance.
In this Alpine resort in the nation's skiing heartland, Austria had strong hopes for overall and super-G World Cup champion Renate Goetschl and Michaela Dorfmeister.
But Dorfmeister, who won the opening super-G in Aspen, Colo., and is second in the discipline standings behind Cavagnoud, finished out of the top 20. Goetschl, who won in Lake Louise, Alberta, and is ranked third, crashed.
Cavagnoud has struggled during her career, recovering from serious knee ligament injuries in 1987 and 1999. Last year, she finished third in the overall World Cup.
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