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SKIING

Riesch bags third World Cup slalom win in Zagreb

German skier Maria Riesch won her third successive World Cup slalom in Zagreb on Sunday in the latest leg of the World Cup series and took the lead in the overall standings off American Lindsey Vonn.

Riesch bags third World Cup slalom win in Zagreb
Photo: DPA

The 24-year-old – already a winner in La Molina and Semmering – timed 1 minute 58.96 seconds beat home Nicole Gius of Italy by 44 hundredths of a second while Slovakian Sarka Zahrobska was third 63 hundredths adrift.

Riesch, who was recording her ninth career victory and fourth in the slalom, extended her lead in the slalom standings after five races. She replaced Vonn at the top of the overall standings after the American fell on the second run, having recorded the best time on the first leg and was well ahead at the intermediate times on the second.

Riesch and Vonn are great friends – they spent Christmas together at the former’s home – and the German admitted that it was tough competing against her.

“Today (Sunday) was a little difficult,” said Riesch. “I won and I was really happy, she (Vonn) went out and was really unhappy.”

Riesch, though, added that even after three successive wins she didn’t necessarily have the title in the bag.

“It’s great but there are still a lot of races… things change quickly, three weeks ago, I was more than 200 points behind Lindsey,” said Riesch, who had a 77-point lead over Vonn.

Earlier, Nicole Hosp of Austria, the 2007 World Cup champion, injured her knee when she fell preparing for the race. Hosp, 25 and standing sixth this season ahead of Sunday’s contest, went down and stayed down on the Sljeme piste and organisers said she was taken to

hospital before being transferred to Austria for an IRM scan.

Hosp suffered a similar misfortune in December at Aspen in the giant slalom.

ACCIDENT

German tourists among 13 dead in Italy cable car accident

Thirteen people, including German tourists, have been killed after a cable car disconnected and fell near the summit of the Mottarone mountain near Lake Maggiore in northern Italy.

German tourists among 13 dead in Italy cable car accident
The local emergency services published this photograph of the wreckage. Photo: Vigili del Fuoco

The accident was announced by Italy’s national fire and rescue service, Vigili del Fuoco, at 13.50 on Sunday, with the agency saying over Twitter that a helicopter from the nearby town of Varese was on the scene. 

Italy’s National Alpine and Speleological Rescue Corps confirmed that there were 13 victims and two seriously injured people.

Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported that German tourists were among the 13 victims.

According to their report, there were 15 passengers inside the car — which can hold 35 people — at the time a cable snapped, sending it tumbling into the forest below. Two seriously injured children, aged nine and five, were airlifted to hospital in Turin. 

The cable car takes tourists and locals from Stresa, a resort town on Lake Maggiore up to a panoramic peak on the Mottarone mountain, reaching some 1,500m above sea level. 

According to the newspaper, the car had been on its way from the lake to the mountain when the accident happened, with rescue operations complicated by the remote forest location where the car landed. 

The cable car had reopened on April 24th after the end of the second lockdown, and had undergone extensive renovations and refurbishments in 2016, which involved the cable undergoing magnetic particle inspection (MPI) to search for any defects. 

Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Twitter that he expressed his “condolences to the families of the victims, with special thoughts for the seriously injured children and their families”.

Infrastructure Minister Enrico Giovannini told Italy’s Tg1 a commission of inquiry would be established, according to Corriere della Sera: “Our thoughts go out to those involved. The Ministry has initiated procedures to set up a commission and initiate checks on the controls carried out on the infrastructure.”

“Tomorrow morning I will be in Stresa on Lake Maggiore to meet the prefect and other authorities to decide what to do,” he said.

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