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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 February, 2004, 13:22 GMT
Karlsen lands maiden win
Norway's Truls Ove Karlsen
Norway's Truls Ove Karlsen picked up his first World Cup victory in Sunday's slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia.

Karlsen beat team-mate Tom Stiansen by 0.08secs with Austria's Mario Matt, back from injury, in third.

World Cup leader Bode Miller of America crashed out on the first run, while Britain's Alain Baxter was 25th.

Austrian skiers dominated the first leg but leader Manfred Pranger straddled a gate and slalom World Cup leader Rainer Schoenfelder went from third to fifth.

"I never dreamt of winning a World Cup race, just about competing in one so to win such a classic is unbelievable," the 28-year-old Karlsen said.

Miller overtook Austria's Hermann Maier at the top of the overall World Cup standings after his giant slalom win on Saturday.

But he failed to qualify for Sunday's second leg after a stumble on his first run.

"Things happen pretty quickly in slalom," said Miller, who is aiming to beocme the first American since Phil Mahre in 1983 to win the overall World Cup title.

I'll just have to ski fast in the downhill and super-G
Bode Miller

"It doesn't mean if you take risks you'll go out. Just like you can take no risks at all and still go out on the fifth gate. That's slalom.

"I felt good on my line, then suddenly I was on my hip. Once I got back into the race, I took a lot of risks and I was fine to the finish."

Benjamin Raich, one of Miller's rivals for the overall title, also skied off course in the second leg.

The slalom was a chance for Miller and third-placed Raich to notch crucial points, as neither Maier nor fourth-placed Stephan Eberharter compete in the technical discipline.

Miller leads Maier by eight points with Raich 85 points back and Eberharter a further 38 points adrift.

"I'll just have to ski fast in the downhill and super-G," Miller said. "I would have liked to ski fast in both anyway, but now I have to."

Baxter, meanwhile, missed out on the elite top-25 for the World Cup finals in Sestriere.

The Scot, who needed to finish sixth in Slovenia, said: "The first run was really hard.

"I didn't find my rhythm until late in the course, and was too straight on many of the gates. The second run was much better, but it just wasn't enough. I was 2.18 out on the first run, which was too much to make up."

Six races remain on the World Cup schedule including one more slalom, a giant slalom, a pair of super-Gs and two more downhills.

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