Fenninger beats Maze; US’ Shiffrin 8th in GS
December 28, 2012
SEMMERING, Austria – Anna Fenninger of Austria had two near-perfect runs to win a World Cup giant slalom on Friday, while second-place Tina Maze of Slovenia extended her lead in the overall standings.
In difficult conditions because of snowfall, Fenninger posted the fastest time in both runs on the Panorama course and finished in a combined time of 2 minutes, 13.09 seconds to beat Maze by 1.10. Tessa Worley of France, who was second after the opening run, was third.
American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin, who won her first World Cup race last week, was eighth for the best GS result in her career. She’s now 10th in the overall standings.
Shiffrin had several mistakes in her final run but used a blistering second to finish 2.68 seconds off Fenninger’s winning time.
“I had some energy that run,” said Shiffrin, who struggled with a cold. “My energy level has been OK, or maybe I am just telling myself that’s OK – mind over matter … Hopefully tonight I get a good night of sleep and come out tomorrow (for the slalom) and have some fun.”
Shiffrin leads the slalom standings, the first time since 1982 that the U.S. women’s team has three racers in the top 10.
Defending overall champion Lindsey Vonn of the United States skipped the race. Vonn, who is fifth in the overall standings, is taking a break from the circuit to fully recover from an intestinal illness.
BORMIO, Italy – The days are short. The course is long, dark, bumpy and icy.
It’s time for the annual World Cup downhill on Bormio’s leg-jarring Stelvio course – usually the most physically demanding test skiers face all season.
It’s an intimidating race, too, being one of the rare tracks where skiers can peer straight down and see the finish from the start gate.
“It’s not as bad as I (thought),” said Kjetil Jansrud, who sits second in the downhill standings, 86 points behind Norwegian teammate Aksel Lund Svindal, but is racing at Bormio for the first time.
Austrian veteran Kroell led Friday’s final training session ahead of Saturday’s race. Italians Christof Innerhofer, the 2008 winner, and Dominik Paris, were second and third – matching their results from Thursday’s opening training.
Bode Miller, the American standout who has three career victories on the Stelvio, still hasn’t started his season as he recovers from left knee surgery.
Without Miller, the U.S. team is led by Steven Nyman, who marked his return from several injury-hit seasons with a surprise victory two weeks ago in the downhill in Val Gardena.
“I love this hill,” Nyman said. “It’s endurance, which suits my style, and it’s a lot of tactics. It’s not really super technical. There’s a lot of ice and bumps on the lower half and you really got to be over your skis and charging there, but other than that it’s not overly technical. It’s more an endurance race and about what you can pull out of the tank down at the bottom.”
The other American skier to look out for is Travis Ganong, who finished 10th in Gardena for his best career result and scored the first downhill points on the Stelvio two years ago during his rookie season.
“Everyone always dreads this place and says how it’s long, dark, bumpy and icy. It is all those things, but I like it,” Ganong said after placing 12th in training. “I like turning, which is really weird for a downhiller. This hill, top to bottom, is just a lot of long, really fun turns, and you have to link them together and that’s how you go fast.”
Marco Sullivan, the American who finished third earlier this season in Lake Louise, Alberta, is skipping this race. He had a season-ending concussion here two years ago.
Another American, Andrew Weibrecht, sat out training Friday because of sickness.
While the weather constantly changed during training Friday, clear and colder conditions are expected for Saturday, which could make the bumps even harder to handle.