Sweden's Paerson Wins World Cup Slalom

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MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO, Italy, Dec. 16, 2003 (AP by Andrew Dampf) -- Sweden's Anja Paerson won a slalom Tuesday for her fourth victory this season, extending her lead in the overall World Cup standings.

Paerson covered the two runs in 1 minute, 40.68 seconds. France's Laure Pequegnot, the first-run leader, was 0.81 seconds behind and Austria's Nicole Hosp was third, 1.10 seconds back.

The top Americans were Kristina Koznick in fifth place and Sarah Schleper in 11th.

Paerson also won the season's first slalom and has two giant slalom victories. She leads France's Carole Montillet by 164 points in the standings.

Tuesday's race had an unusual start, with Bode Miller and Janica Kostelic serving as forerunners.

Miller is trying to regain his form after failing to finish four of his last five races, and Kostelic is preparing to return from a thyroid problem. Kostelic was a forerunner for both runs; Miller did only the first.

"I was trying to use it as a good training run," said Miller, who fell in the first leg of Monday's men's slalom.

He had no qualms about taking part in a women's event.

"It's really challenging how tight it is," he said. "They set it with a lot more turns than for us."

Forerunners act as a gauge for organizers and competitors by ensuring the course is in good condition. Their times are not made public, although the skiers sometimes release the times themselves.

How did Miller do against Kostelic?

"I don't know, probably not great," he said.

Kostelic, the defending overall World Cup champion, looked fluid and made no mistakes. The Croat said she was not pushing too hard, however.

Kostelic had been contemplating making her season debut Wednesday in another slalom. She now says she will wait a little longer.

This race originally was scheduled for the Czech resort of Spindleruv Mlyn but was moved because of a lack of snow.

Copyright © 2000 The Associated Press