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Maier Takes Super-G for 50th World Cup Win


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March 6, 2005, KVITFJELL, Norway (AP) _ Hermann Maier won a super giant slalom on Lillehammer’s Olympic course Sunday for his 50th World Cup victory, tying Alberto Tomba for second place on the career list.

Austria’s Benjamin Raich finished fourth, just ahead of Bode Miller, and drew closer to the American in their race for the overall title. Miller, trying to become the first American since Phil Mahre in 1983 to win the men’s overall, leads Raich by 52 points (1,348 points to 1,296) with only four races left.

Maier, who also won Saturday’s downhill on the same slope, was timed in 1 minute, 32.98 seconds. He beat Didier Defago of Switzerland by 0.83 seconds while Daron Rahlves of the United States was third, 0.88 back.

Maier, the four-time and defending World Cup overall champion, joined Italy’s Tomba in second place on the career victory list behind Ingemar Stenmark. The Swedish great leads with 86, all in slalom and giant slalom.

“There are still chances to win some more,” the 32-year-old Maier said. “I’m still younger than Tomba when he reached 50.”

This season, one race remains in each discipline _ the downhill, super-G, slalom and giant slalom at the World Cup finals in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, starting Thursday. A victory is worth 100 points.

Maier closed the gap on the top two racers. With 1,166 points, he still has a mathematical chance to successfully defend his overall title.

“It’s not possible,” he said. “I don’t ski the slalom.”

Maier has been skiing as well as ever in recent weeks. Last month, the Austrian won the giant slalom at the world championships in Bormio, Italy, for his first world or Olympic title since nearly losing his leg in a motorcycle accident four years ago.

He missed the 2002 Olympics after shattering his right leg in the crash. He returned for the second half of the 2002-03 season and then captured his fourth World Cup overall title last year.

Maier’s latest win also moved him to the top the super-G standings. He has 424 points while Miller dropped to second with 370. Defago is third on 266 and Rahlves is fourth with 262.

“The chances are small now (for the super-G title),” Miller said. “He has to make a big mistake and I have to win the last race. And for me to win the overall I want to be winning these last races or I need at least to beat the other two guys because the margins are small now.”

Raich, who is stronger in gate races, was 12th in Saturday’s downhill while Miller was fourth.

“I had a very good weekend,” Raich said. “It was important for me to keep close here. I did it. That’s why I’m very happy.”