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Three-way Tie for First Place in the Women's Giant Slalom


By Erica Bulman, Associated Press Writer

SOELDEN, Austria (AP) -- Norway's Andrine Flemmen, Slovenia's Tina Maze and Austrian rookie Nicole Hosp recorded identical times in the women's giant slalom Saturday, the first three-way tie for first place in World Cup history.

The three women completed the first World Cup race of the season in a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 49.91 seconds.

``It's incredible,'' Flemmen said, laughing. ``It was a crazy race because of the wind. You needed a bit of luck to win. I think today it's clear there was a bit of luck and a lot of coincidence.''

There have been 10 ties in World Cup competition. Last season, American Kristina Koznick and Switzerland's Marlies Oester shared first in a slalom in Berchtesgaden.

It was only the second World Cup race of Hosp's career. The 18-year-old Austrian finished 29th in a giant slalom last season.

``My goal is to win the overall World Cup title one day,'' Hosp said. ``Good racers should be able to excel in all events.''

It was also Maze's first career win. Maze, whose previous best was a second-place finish last season, is only entering her third season on the World Cup circuit.

``I was waiting in the finish area watching the other racers. I kept wondering if they would finish before or after me,'' Maze said. ``When I saw all zeros when Andrine came down, I couldn't believe it.

``It's crazy. Who would have thought? How can you even dream something like this. It's unbelievable.'' Flemmen, the world silver medalist in 1999, had two other World Cup victories, a giant slalom here in Soelden in 1999 and another in Copper Mountain last year.

Stina Hofgard Nilsen of Norway was fourth in 1:50.21, followed by Maria Jose Rienda Contreras of Spain, fifth in 1:50.24.

Two-time defending World Cup giant slalom champion Sonja Nef, fourth after the opening leg, finished sixth in 1:50.36.

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