Paerson Wins WC Slalom in Austria


LIENZ, Austria, Dec. 28, 2003 (AP by Harry Miltner) -- Sweden's Anja Paerson won a World Cup slalom for the third time this season on Sunday, a day after she dropped out of a giant slalom.

She finished 0.34 seconds ahead of Austria's Nicole Hosp, the winner Saturday. Germany's Monika Bergmann-Schmuderer was third, 0.35 seconds behind. The top American was Resi Stiegler in 13th place.

Paerson and Hosp are 1-2 in the slalom standings and overall standings.

Paerson rallied from second place after the first run.

"Despite my great second run, I was so relieved when Nicole crossed the line behind me because her skiing was out of this world in the giant," the Swede said. "I did not think I could beat her."

Paerson, the 2001 slalom world champion, was unable to finish her previous two races.

"I was so nervous at the start today because I am in top form, but I have been crashing too often recently," she said. "I want to achieve so much this winter because I know I am capable of it."

Hosp has finished among the top three in each race she completed this season. She dominated the first leg before Paerson rallied on an increasingly worsening slope.

"Anja is a great champion and you can never rule her out," Hosp said. "She was stronger today."

Hosp was trying to become the third skier to win both weekend events in Lienz since Judy Nagel of the United States in 1969 and Ylva Noven of Sweden in 1997.

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