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Austria’s Eva-Maria Brem earns 1st World Cup win

PAT GRAHAMNovember 30, 2014

ASPEN, Colorado (AP) — Eva-Maria Brem raced to an emotional first World Cup victory Saturday, holding off Austrian teammate Kathrin Zettel with a smooth final run in the giant slalom.

Brem had a big lead following a nearly flawless first run and tactically charged the tricky course to finish in 2 minutes, 5.97 seconds. Zettel was second, 0.59 seconds behind, for her ninth podium finish in Aspen. Federica Brignone of Italy was third.

When Brem finished and saw her name on top of the scoreboard the tears began to flow. The 26-year-old had been left off the Austrian team for the Sochi Games this year and almost quite the sport.

When she lifted her head up from the snow — some still sticking to her nose and goggles — Zettel greeted her with a hug.

“I know she had a really hard time and has worked so long for this victory,” said Zettel, who’s quickly rounding back into top form after offseason hip surgery. “She’s skiing so well.”

Shiffrin and Anna Fenninger of Austria tied in the season-opening GS race last month in Soelden, Austria, and Brem was third.

Brem also finished second in Switzerland and third in Sweden last March.

This recent surge was ignited, at least in part, by not making the Sochi squad. Soon after, Brem did some soul-searching and made some changes.

“I do it my way,” Brem said.

Brem’s way is attacking a course with almost a carefree attitude, not stressing over everything. It worked as she earned her first career podium finish in Sweden on March 6.

“A magic moment for me,” she said. “I realized that maybe I can really do this.”

Zettel had a so-so opening run, too, but was speedy on her final pass to jump on top.

Brignone — the second-to-last skier — couldn’t catch Zettel’s time. Brem wasn’t nervous in the starting gate, just determined.

“I tried to push the second run, because I thought if I don’t win this now, I will never get over it,” Brem said.

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