U.S. slider Pikus-Pace snags first World Cup victory since 2004

Noelle Pikus-Pace celebrates her first World Cup win of the season.

KOENIGSSEE, Germany (AP) -- Noelle Pikus-Pace got her first World Cup win since 2004, beating two German sliders to the gold medal in a skeleton race on Friday.

The American and 2007 world champion was injured before the 2006 Olympics and finished fourth in 2010, after which she retired. She has been sliding well since returning in November, but had yet to top the podium.

Pikus-Pace finished 1 minute, 47.51 seconds, beating World Cup overall leader Marion Thees by 0.41 seconds. Anja Huber was third.

Pikus-Pace was the Olympic favorite heading into the 2006 Turin Games before an out-of-control bobsled sailed past the end of a track and into her, badly breaking one of her legs. She missed those Olympics, finished fourth at the 2010 Vancouver Games, and retired afterward primarily because she wanted to spend more time with her family.

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