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    Saturday, December 6, 1997

    Austrians win snowboard cross event

     SESTRIERE, Italy (AP) -- Austrians Alexander Koller and Manuela Riegler won snowboard cross events Saturday, picking up valuable points in the chase for the overall Snowboard World Cup title.
     Koller was first among the men, beating Sweden's Daniel Biveson, Canada's Nelson Jenson and Elmar Messner of Italy in the final. Messner was last season's world champion in snowboard cross, a discipline that forces competitors to deal with curves, jumps and other obstacles as they race.
     Riegler, second overall last season in snowboard cross, took the women's event Saturday. She finished ahead of Russia's Marie Tikhvinskaja, Austrian Ursula Fingerlos, and Sweden's Marie Birkl in the final.
     Koller and Riegler each earned 1,000 points for the overall World Cup standings and took the early lead for the snowboard cross season title. Sestriere hosted the first of the year's six snowboard cross events.
     Snowboarding will make its Olympic debut at the Nagano Games in February, but snowboard cross will not be there. The IOC admitted two snowboard disciplines, the giant slalom and the halfpipe.


     SESTRIERE, Italy (AP) -- Leading finishers Saturday from a World Cup Snowboard event:
     1. Alexander Koller, Austria; 2. Daniel Biveson, Sweden; 3. Nelson Jenson, Canada; 4. Elmar Messner, Italy; 5. Simone Malusa, Italy; 6. Alex Voyat, Italy; 7. Helmut Pramstaller, Austria; 8. Willi Trakofler, Italy; 9. Denis Zezin, Russia; 10. Anton Pogue, U.S.
     Snowboard World Cup Standings
     (After One Event)
     1. Koller, 1000 points; 2. Biveson, 800; 3. Jenson, 600.
     1. Manuela Riegler, Austria; 2. Marie Tikhvinskaja, Russia; 3. Ursula Fingerlos, Austria; 4. Marie Birkl, Sweden; 5. Nicolien Sauerbreij, Netherlands; 6. Machaela Steiner, Italy; 7. Joanna Mularz, Belgium; 8. Francesca Canepa, Italy; 9. Teresa Beltramone, Italy; 10. Simona Rachetto, Italy.
     Snowboard World Cup Standings
     (After One Event)
     1. Riegler, 1000 points; 2. Tikhvinskaja, 800; 3. Fingerlos, 600.