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Alpine skiing: Lindell-Vikarby wins Beaver Creek giant slalom

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Jessica Lindell-Vikarby won the women's alpine World Cup giant slalom at Beaver Creek on Sunday, the second World Cup race win of the Swede's career.

With her only previous World Cup win four years behind her, the 29-year-old admitted that the butterflies built up as she prepared to defend her first-leg lead in the decisive second run.

But she stormed home to edge US starlet Mikaela Shiffrin with a total time of 2min 17.92sec.

Shiffrin, treated to a hero's welcome by fans after she briefly moved into the top spot, settled for the second step of the podium just 0.09sec back.

Liechtenstein's Tina Weirather was third, 0.56sec adrift.

"I'm feeling great!" Lindell-Vikarby said. "It was a pure pleasure to be in the lead when you came down the first run and then the second.

"It's a long wait between runs and I was for sure a bit nervous, but I made it."

Lindell-Vikarby's only prior World Cup win was a super-G triumph at Cortina-d'Ampezzo, Italy, in January of 2009.

"I've been waiting and I've been working hard," she said. "After injuries and stuff it's nice to be back.

Her best previous giant slalom result on the World Cup circuit was a fifth place at Maribor in January of this year.

Shiffrin, the 18-year-old winner of the season's first slalom at Levi, Finland, earlier this month, also notched her first giant slalom podium finish.

Meanwhile, reigning Olympic champion in the discipline, Germany's Viktoria Rebensburg, was fourth after the first leg, but failed to finish the second.

Switzerland's Lara Gut, who won Friday's downhill and Saturday's super-G on the new Raptor course built for women's speed events at the 2015 World Championships, fared less well as the action moved to Beaver Creek's Birds of Prey piste.

Gut slid out of the first run, unable to maintain her line after touching a boot to the snow.

Nevertheless, she remained atop the overall World Cup standings with the next races set for next weekend at Lake Louise, Canada.

Lake Louise could see the return to racing of American Lindsey Vonn, who hasn't competed since a crash at the World Championships in February that was followed by reconstructive surgery on her right knee.

Vonn, the reigning Olympic downhill champion, was slated to return to action at Beaver Creek, but she partially tore a ligament in her rebuilt knee in training last week.

Vonn has opted to forego surgery for now, and returned to the slopes in nearby Vail this week as her World Cup colleagues battled it out in Beaver Creek.

She says she's optimistic she could race at Lake Louise, where she has won 14 World Cup races.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131201/alpine-skiing-lindell-vikarby-wins-beaver-creek-giant-slalom-1