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Weirather earns overall red bib for Christmas

By Ana Jelusic; www.fisalpine.com

Val d'Isere, France (Sports Network) - Tina Weirather spent the perfect weekend in Val d'Isere, clinching her first giant slalom World Cup victory while seizing the reins in the race for the overall big globe. In a combined time of two minutes and 24.10 seconds, the Liechtenstein's skier bagged her second win of the season after last week's super-G in St Moritz and will spend Christmas with the overall red bib on her back.

"It's a great Christmas gift. To me the World Cup lead is not that important. It's only December. But to win a giant slalom means a lot. GS has always been the discipline in which I wanted to do well," she said.

The 24-year-old all-rounder, who is on 595 points, will take a 27 points lead to Lienz for a weekend of technical events on December 28.

On the OK piste, seldom used as a GS course, she upstaged her closest rival in the race for the big globe, team-mate Lara Gut, who finished 0.73 seconds adrift. Winner of the Solden opener, the Swiss restored some confidence after failing to complete her last two giant slaloms in Beaver Creek and St Moritz.

"It's nice to be back on the podium but I was not too worried after going out in those two races. I knew I was skiing well," she said.

Third place went to Sweden's Maria Pietilae-Holmner, who saw her most consistent giant slalom season to date rewarded by a first World Cup podium in the discipline. A GS world silver-medallist at home in Are in 2007, she trailed Weirather by 0.95 seconds.

"We worked on my GS skills with the coaches this summer, to push more on the skis and let them go and it obviously paid off," she said.

Italy's Federica Brignone was a morale-boosting fourth, her best result since her injury break.

In the World Cup overall standings, Maria Hoefl-Riesch remains close to her two younger rivals on 535 points. The German 2012 World Cup champion fought from a disappointing 11th in the first leg to finish 5th, 1:16 behind.

Her sixth place, 0.01 behind Hoefl-Riesch, was enough for Sweden's Jessica Lindell-Vikarby to retain the specialty's World Cup lead on 252 points.

Among the most disappointing skiers on the day was Slovenia's Tina Maze, who looked in great shape after her second place in Saturday's downhill. But a huge mistake in the morning run ruined her chances and she finished 11th, 1.76 off the pace.

12/23 09:39:24 ET