ERIC WILLEMSEN Associated Press SEMMERING, Austria -
Kathrin Zettel, Nicole Hosp and Marlies Schild gave Austria a sweep of the top three spots Thursday in a World Cup giant slalom.
Zettel, who also won the season-opening GS in Aspen, Colo., completed Austria's eighth World Cup victory this season in a combined time of 2 minutes, 9.50 seconds.
"I'm astonished. I really didn't believe I could beat Marlies in the second run," Zettel said. "I'm so happy to win a giant slalom in Austria."
Zettel doesn't believe there is any secret to Austria's dominance.
"We just make a great team together," she said. "Every one of us wants to be the best of the world, so we all got stimulated by teammates performing well."
Hosp was second, 0.1 seconds behind, and reclaimed the lead in the overall World Cup standings from Schild, the first-run leader who finished 0.16 seconds behind.
"What a tough battle it has been," Hosp said. "We all have been training very hard lately and were well prepared for this race. There was hardly any difference between the three of us."
Hosp has 540 points in the overall World Cup standings, three ahead of Schild. Zettel was third with 460, followed by Renate Goetschl with 441. American Lindsey Kildow was fifth with 435 points.
"That would be far too premature," Hosp said of winning the overall title. "The season is still so long and there are so many competitive skiers around."
Schild lost time on the second run as she took risks in a bid to keep her lead.
"It went wrong in the final part of my race," Schild said. "I badly misjudged some curves and lost too much speed. Those mistakes came very costly."
Schild also led in the season-opening race in Aspen before dropping out.
"These errors really annoy me, but what can you do?" Schild said. "I have to live with the idea that I could have done better."
American Julia Mancuso finished fourth in 2:09.82 after clocking the fastest second run. Teammate Lindsey Kildow didn't finish the first run.