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World Cup giant slalom champion breaks leg

Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup - Women's Giant Slalom

COURCHEVEL, FRANCE - DECEMBER 20: (FRANCE OUT) Eva-Maria Brem of Austria takes 1st place competes during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women’s Giant Slalom on December 20, 2015 in Courchevel, France. (Photo by Michel Cottin/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

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Eva-Maria Brem, the reigning World Cup giant slalom champion and Austrian Sportswoman of the Year, broke her lower left leg in a crash Friday and will be out four to six months, according to Austria’s ski federation.

Brem, 28, completed a steady rise last season to the top of the giant slalom standings, winning twice and adding a pair of runner-ups on the World Cup circuit.

However, Brem was 26th in the season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 22.

The favorites for this season’s World Cup giant slalom title, in Brem’s absence, appear to be World Cup overall champion Lara Gut of Switzerland and American Mikaela Shiffrin, who went one-two in Soelden.

Shiffrin, an Olympic, world and World Cup champion in the slalom, finished fifth in the Sochi Olympic giant slalom, won her first World Cup giant slalom later in 2014 and finished third in the World Cup giant slalom standings in 2015 before missing much of last season due to injury.

Brem is the latest star skier to suffer a major leg injury, following those to Olympic champions Lindsey Vonn, Anna Veith and Shiffrin last season.

The World Cup season continues with men’s and women’s slaloms in Levi, Finland, next weekend.

MORE: Mikaela Shiffrin runner-up in World Cup season opener