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Hosp is women's World Cup champion

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LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland -- Nicole Hosp rubber-stamped a season of Austrian World Cup domination on when she clinched the overall and giant slalom crowns.

A sensational weekend for the 23-year-old, which also included a shock victory in Saturday's slalom, meant she overturned a daunting 70-point deficit to surge past team-mate Marlies Schild for the overall prize.

Hosp snaps four seasons of domination by Croatian Janica Kostelic and Sweden's Anja Paerson, becoming the first Austrian woman to win the coveted globe since Michaela Dorfmeister in 2002.

Last year's champion Kostelic decided to skip the season.

Knowing that either victory or second place in Sunday's finale in the Swiss Alps would be enough to secure the title, the giant slalom world champion responded with a faultless display of technical skiing, winning by a huge 1.42 seconds.

Germany's Kathrin Hoelzl was second with Michaela Kirchgasser in third spot while title rival Schild, who began the day 30 points behind Hosp after a dismal slalom performance on Saturday, finished in a solid sixth position.

Hosp, who burst on to the scene as a teenager in 2002 when she won a World Cup giant slalom in Soelden, has occasionally struggled to live up to her early promise.

But after winning a world championship gold in Sweden last month -- and now taking the World Cup -- she has joined a select band of great Austrian women skiers.

"My idol was Annemarie Moser-Proell and it's always been my dream to win the World Cup," Hosp, who has nine World Cup victories, told reporters.

"To do this five years after my first World Cup victory is very emotional. Today was the biggest win of my season because I knew I had to finish.

"It was not only important to win the overall but also the giant slalom crown because we were looking to snatch all the titles this season and we've now done it."

Schild was left to rue the second leg of Saturday's slalom when two huge mistakes relegated her to 19th and out of the points.

"I had some bad luck in the slalom yesterday," she said. "But second place is not too bad. I'm happy that I won the slalom title but my big ambition is still to win the overall.

"But I have to congratulate Nicole."

Schild can content herself with the slalom and super-combined titles while speed queen Renate Goetschl reigned supreme in the downhill and super-G.

Hosp's victory also gave her the season's World Cup giant slalom title.

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