Alpine skiing - Holdener defends women's combined title

Alpine skiing - Holdener defends women's combined title
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ARE, Sweden (Reuters) - Switzerland's Wendy Holdener defended her women's combined title with a strong slalom run at the Alpine skiing world championships on Friday.

Slovakia's Petra Vlhova took the silver medal, three hundredths of a second slower, with Norway's Ragnhild Mowinckel completing the podium.

"Finally I could put two good runs together and bring home the victory," said Holdener, who was fifth fastest in the morning's shortened downhill before making up time on the technical slope.

"I love the downhill here in Are, I felt really confident," she added. "And then in slalom I just knew I now have to bring it (home) and I'm really happy that I was a little bit before Petra."

Austria's Ramona Siebenhofer, winner of back-to-back World Cup downhills in Cortina d'Ampezzo last month, had been fastest in the downhill leg but she ended up fourth and four hundredths slower than Mowinckel.

Slovenia's Ilka Stuhec, the 2017 downhill world champion who had gone into the slalom in second place, faded badly and finished 10th.

American Lindsey Vonn, who completed the first part as useful training for Sunday's downhill, was one of several skiers who did not take part in the slalom.

"It was OK. I was definitely really stiff out of the start," Vonn, sporting a black eye from Tuesday's crash, told Eurosport television. "I've been having some rib problems, my rib's out.

"From the first jump down it was pretty decent and it was a good test for me because this is obviously a race for the other girls and it's good to see kind of where I stack up.

"I have another gear left to go and I'm just going to rest tomorrow and be ready for Sunday," said the 34-year-old.

Sunday's downhill will be the final race of the former Olympic champion's career after she announced her retirement last week.

(Writing by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Ed Osmond and Toby Davis)

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