VAL D’ISERE, France (AP) – Marlies Schild is winning more than races these days – she’s winning her battle against nerves.

The Austrian skier won her third straight slalom Thursday to take over the lead in the overall World Cup standings.

“I get so nervous before every race and just try to do my best. I cannot explain where my strength comes from,” Schild said.

“I have a mental trainer and that really helps. It helps you focus in the right moments and do your best when you are nervous.

“We’ve been working together for many years now.”

Schild won in 1 minute, 46.15 seconds on the Oreiller-Killy course.

Annemarie Gerg of Germany was second in 1:46.36, and Therese Borssen of Sweden was third in 1:46.39.

The top American was Resi Stiegler, who was sixth in 1:46.94. Lindsey Kildow, who won Wednesday’s downhill, was fourth after the first run but missed a gate on the second run and failed to finish.

“I tried to push too hard, and I didn’t have enough energy,” Kildow said. “I hit a gate at the top but managed to come back inside.

But then I straddled a hairpin. I’m disappointed not to get any points.”

Schild, who won the Olympic bronze in slalom at the 2006 Turin Games, leads two other Austrians in the overall standings with 477 points. Nicole Hosp is second with 460 points and Renate Goetschl is third with 441.

“I feel really happy to be in the lead today,” said Schild, who also leads the slalom standings with 300 points. “My knee doesn’t hurt and my back doesn’t hurt. But I don’t feel invincible. It was really close today.”

Schild also won slaloms this season in Aspen, Colo., and Levi, Finland, and she has a win in the combined.

The 31-year-old Gerg was in tears after ending a long wait for her first World Cup podium.

“I almost cannot believe it,” Gerg said. “I have been waiting for this for so long. It’s an incredible feeling. The course was special, it was aggressive … and this was perfect for me.”

Kildow dropped from third to fourth overall with 435 points.

“I just lost balance,” Kildow said. “It was a funky course with a lot of different rhythms. … I didn’t really adapt well and I just needed a bit more training in slalom.”

AP-ES-12-21-06 1236EST

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