World Cup skiing cancelled as wind blows barriers away

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Strong winds forced the cancellation of the second run in the women's giant slalom at Semmering

Powerful gusts of wind at the Austrian ski resort of Semmering blew away the safety barriers at the finish line of the World Cup giant slalom event on Monday causing the second leg to be abandoned.

Race organisers said they would decide at a later time whether or not the race could be completed after the first run had been successfully staged in the morning.

World Cup leader Petra Vlhova produced a slick first run in freezing but already blustery conditions as the American star Mikaela Shiffrin came in fourth.

Vlhova took 1min 02.15sec to negotiate the 43 turns on hard-packed snow with Italy's Marta Bassino 0.22sec off the pace and Swiss Michelle Gisin in third at 0.35sec. Shiffrin was 0.59 off Vlhova's pace.

Earlier this month Shiffrin, a three-time overall World Cup champion, won her first race since January after a year marked by the sudden death of her father in February.

The men's World Cup super-G race at Bormio on Monday was rescheduled for Tuesday after heavy snow made the fearsome Stelvio piste unmanageable.

The much-awaited men's downhill race scheduled for Tuesday has also been pushed back by 24 hours to Wednesday.

The relentless heavy snow falling in the Italian Alps Monday is expected to give way Tuesday to light snowfall.