SKIING

Schild wins sixth slalom, claims discipline title

World champion Marlies Schild led an Austrian 1-2 finish Saturday in Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic, to win her sixth World Cup slalom of the season and clinch the discipline title.

Schild had the fastest time in both runs to clock 1 minute, 43.85 seconds. Kathrin Zettel finished 0.93 second behind and Tina Maze was 1.16 back in third.

Schild holds an insurmountable 111-point lead over second-place Tanja Poutiainen in the slalom standings with only one more race remaining in the discipline.

Lindsey Vonn of the United States was tied for 16th, but still narrowed the gap to overall World Cup leader Maria Riesch after Riesch went out in the second run.

MEN’S WORLD CUP: Michael Walchhofer won a downhill in Kvitfjell, Norway, to leapfrog Didier Cuche of Switzerland in the discipline standings with two races left.

Walchhofer completed the 3-kilometer Olympiabakken course in 1 minute, 45.92 seconds to hold off Klaus Kroell and Friday’s winner Beat Feuz of Switzerland.

Kroell finished 0.13 seconds behind, with Feuz 0.31 seconds back.

The International Ski Federation (FIS) said that Cuche will be fined $5,400 after he threatened to “attack” a referee if a dangerous jump was not removed from the course.

Cuche’s day got worse when he finished seventh and Walchhofer overtook him in the race for the downhill crystal globe.

SOCCER

FA CUP: Arsenal went out of a third competition in two weeks when Manchester United reached the semifinals with a 2-0 victory that vindicated Manager Alex Ferguson’s selection gamble.

Seven defenders started for United and left back Fabio da Silva, playing in midfield, opened the scoring before striker Wayne Rooney headed in another in the second half.

The Gunners’ hopes of a first title since the 2005 FA Cup now rests on overhauling United’s three-point lead in the Premier League after Barcelona ended their European campaign and Birmingham beat them in the League Cup final.

LA LIGA: Karim Benzema scored two goals for the third straight game in Real Madrid’s 2-0 victory over Hercules.

Madrid remain perfect in 22 games in all competitions at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium this season and provisionally moved to within four points of Barcelona ahead of the leader’s visit to Sevilla today.

SLED DOG RACING

IDITAROD: A new leader surged to the front of the race, with a dozen top mushers in striking distance in the 1,150-mile race to Nome.

John Baker of Kotzebue, Alaska, reached Eagle Island with 13 dogs a few minutes after midnight Saturday. He rested his team for four hours, dropped one dog and left at 4:05 a.m. before first light.

That was more than two and a half hours ahead of Sebastian Schnuelle of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, who left Eagle Island at 6:38 a.m., and Alaskans Hugh Neff of Tok and Ramey Smyth of Willow, who left a minute after Schnuelle.

Eight other teams left Eagle Island before 9 a.m, including reigning champion Lance Mackey of Fairbanks in 12th place. He was down to just nine dogs but they were well-rested after an eight-hour stop.

The run along the Yukon River, North America’s third longest, completes the middle third of the race. The trail from Eagle Island covers 70 miles, hugging the west shore of the Yukon for 23 miles before crossing to river islands and eventually a trapper’s trail to the village of Kaltag.

CYCLING

PARIS-NICE RACE: Frenchman Remy Di Gregorio launched an attack 8 miles from the finish to claim a solo victory in the seventh stage ending in Biot-Sophia Antipolis, France.

German rider Tony Martin placed fifth to retain the leader’s yellow jersey going into today’s final stage to Nice.

Under heavy rain, Di Gregorio made his move after Karsten Kroon was caught by the pack, and then held off his rivals over the final miles. Saturday’s 134-mile stage was the longest of the race.