Fenninger beats Maze to win women’s World Cup GS
OFTERSCHWANG, Germany (AP) — Tina Maze just keeps setting records in the World Cup, even on days when she doesn’t win.
Maze finished second to Anna Fenninger of Austria on Saturday in a giant slalom, missing out on her 10th victory of the season but becoming the first woman to make eight podiums in the discipline in the same campaign.
The Slovenian has already clinched the overall and giant slalom World Cup titles — and rewritten the record for points in a season — but couldn’t overcome Fenninger’s strong performance on Saturday.
Fenninger protected her lead from the first run to complete the Ofterschwanger Horn course in a total of 2 minutes, 29.39 seconds, finishing 0.44 ahead of Maze.
“I’m very happy with the day and the course. The atmosphere was great,” Maze said. “A second-place finish was super today.”
Maze earned her 21st World Cup podium of the season, just one behind Austrian great Hermann Maier’s record from 1999-2000. She has already broken Maier’s record for points in a season, and extended her total to 2,154.
Julia Mancuso of the United States was eighth after finishing 2.85 off the pace on her 29th birthday. American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin, the slalom world champion, she skied out on her first run just four days before her 18th birthday.
It was the second victory in a week for the 23-year-old Fenninger, who also won a super-G at Garmisch-Partenkirchen last Sunday.
“I was quite surprised to see how fast I managed to ski in the second run, starting last,” Fenninger said. “The conditions weren’t as good as they were obviously in the first run. I’ve been feeling really good in the last weeks. I skied with instinct and without too much thinking and it’s working again today.”
Viktoria Rebensburg was 0.96 back in third place. The German was going for her third win in a row at Ofterschwang. Eva-Maria Brem of Austria was fourth for her best World Cup finish, followed by France’s Anemone Marmottan, who was fastest in the second run.
Finland’s Tanja Poutiainen was taken by helicopter to a hospital with a knee injury after crashing in the first run.
Mancuso was fourth after a good the first run.
“It was a really good start, a step in the right direction for me. I still need to make two good runs, but I’m happy,” Mancuso said.
Mancuso is still in the running for the super-G title, trailing Maze by 55 points going into the World Cup finals next week in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
“To be in the chase for a globe is a dream of mine, I really want to win a globe,” said Mancuso, who is skipping Sunday’s slalom race to concentrate on Thursday’s super-G final. “I think if I can win a race then that goal will also come true.”
Organizers had cancelled a training run to protect the snow due to the springtime conditions.
With her unprecedented dominance this season, Maze has nearly twice as many points as her closest challenger, Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany, who is second on 1,065. The German could only manage 16th on Saturday despite fervent support from the flag-waving crowd.
Maze went straight into training for Sunday’s slalom in an attempt to catch Shiffrin for the title.
The 29 year-old Slovenian hopes to prolong the title race until next Saturday, when she could become the first woman to win five crystal globes in a season. She has already become only the third woman to win a race in all five disciplines in the same campaign.
“It’s unbelievable,” Fenninger said. “For me it’s incredible how often she’s in front in all disciplines. It’s the result of extremely hard work for many years. She’s been fighting for this her whole life. It’s simply unbelievable.”