Aubert crowns superb French weekend in Are

By Manuele Lang

ARE, Sweden (Reuters) - Sandrine Aubert retained her Are slalom crown to top a superb weekend for French women's skiing in the Swedish resort on Sunday.

Spurred on by the giant slalom victory of team mate Tessa Worley on the same Olimpia piste the previous day, Aubert won her third World Cup victory, all in slaloms, in a combined time of one minute 43.24 seconds.

A blistering second run allowed the 27-year-old skier from Les Deux Alpes to leave German sisters Maria and Susanne Riesch to take the other two podium spots.

World champion Maria was second, 0.45 seconds behind, and took the overall World Cup lead from arch-rival Lindsey Vonn.

Suzanne, the younger sister by three years, had been fourth in the previous two slaloms and made it on to her first podium, 0.96 seconds behind Aubert.

The exuberant Frenchwoman who won her first career slalom in Ofterschwang, Austria, last season, won the Are finals race a week later but she had struggled since the start of this season.

Vonn, winner of two downhills last weekend in Lake Louise, had to be content with eighth place, 2.13 off the pace.

The American now trails Maria Riesch by 20 points in the overall World Cup standings.

Austria's Kathrin Zettel, who took joint fourth place in Sunday's slalom after finishing third on Saturday, lies third on 330 points.

Vonn should find a terrain more to her liking next weekend in Val d'Isere, with a super-combined, downhill and super-G on the menu.

(Editing by Clare Fallon)