Soelden. Aspen. St. Moritz. And now Courchevel.
Undefeated this season, Tina Maze appears unstoppable in GS, as she skied to her fifth win of the World Cup season under soft conditions with patchy light in France Sunday. Unlike some of her recent victories, however, it wasn’t perfect. There were a couple glimmers of hope for the rest of the field, including the fact that Maze didn’t win the second run — Mikaela Shiffrin did.
But when you’re skiing as well as Maze, one small mistake before coming into the steeps isn’t enough to ruin your day. The Slovenian, who set the fastest pace in the first run, controlled the race on the upper part of the course, as much as 0.74 seconds up at the second intermediate. However, she lost a little bit of speed toward the bottom to finish with a combined time of 2 minutes, 16.84 seconds — just more than two tenths faster than the day’s second place finisher Kathrin Zettel, of Austria, who might have won the race if it were not for a costly mistake halfway down her second run.
With her second podium of the season, France’s Tessa Worley appears to be back to form, at least in the giant slalom, where she picked up her second straight third-place result in the discipline, this time on home snow.
As for the Americans, Julia Mancuso logged by far her best giant slalom result of the season, sixth place, 2.33 seconds behind the pace of Maze. She skied aggressively up top, tight on every panel and as much as 0.58 seconds ahead of the pace set by then-leader Frida Hansdotter. But the time gradually slipped away from her toward the bottom.
“I was really happy to have a really good run, and finishing sixth is a great step in the right direction,” said Mancuso. “It was a really turny first run, so that’s why I think it was little more difficult than second run. They had to adjust because it snowed meters the week before, so to make sure we had a race and not lose it like last year, they put a lot of water in there and it was just really rough. … But I thought it actually turned out pretty good. Even though it was rough, it was pretty consistently rough.”
Skiing the fastest second run of the day, Mikaela Shiffrin once again proved she is capable of setting the pace in GS at the World Cup level. Without the light in her favor, Shiffrin threw down a time 1:06.11, nearly a quarter-second faster than the next-best second-run time of Kathrin Zettel.
For Shiffrin — who finished the first run in 19th, skiing from bib No. 42 — it was her second World Cup top ten in the discipline. (The other was in Aspen earlier this season.) It wasn’t a perfect run either, as a small mistake midway through the course set her back, but she was able to make up time toward the bottom of the run. The 17-year-old finished ninth on the day and, for the first time in GS, will start in the top 30 at Are in on Wednesday.
Lindsey Vonn joined the nearly 30 other racers who did not finish the first run.
For Maze, it’s another 100 points toward her quest for the overall title this season. She currently sits way atop the leader board with 799 — a 331 point advantage of Maria Hoefl-Riesch (468). Kathrin Zettel sits in third with 440, and Vonn is in fourth with 414 points.
by Hank McKee
Women’s World Cup Giant Slalom, Courchevel, France, Dec. 16, 2012
1 Maze, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
2 Zettel, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
3 Worley, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
4 Fenninger, Head/Head/Head
5 Hansdotter, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
6 Mancuso, Head/Head/Head
7 Curtoni, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
8 Brem, Voelkl/Fischer/Marker
9 Shiffrin, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
10 Drev, Voelkl//Marker
Women’s World Cup Giant Slalom, Courchevel, France, Dec. 16, 2012. … It is the 24th race of the 73 race 2012-13 World Cup season. … It is the 13th race on the women’s schedule, and the 12th to be held. … It is the fourth of nine scheduled women’s Giant Slaloms. … It is the fourth Cup race held at Courchevel, the first women’s GS.
It is the 16th career World Cup victory for Tina Maze. … her 12th in GS. … It is her fifth win of the season and fourth in GS. … She has matched Hanni Wenzel and Sonja Nef for sixth in GS wins among women all time.
It is the 42nd career World Cup podium result for Kathrin Zettel. … her 19th in GS. … It is her fifth podium of the season and third in GS.
It is the tenth World Cup podium for Tessa Worley. … all coming in GS. … She owns seven wins and three third place finishes, never having finished second. … It is her second straight third place finish in GS.
It is the 68th time Julia Mancuso has finished sixth or better in a World Cup race. … the 18th time in GS. … It is her third best result of the season and her sixth top 10 finish. … Mikaela Shiffrin matches her career best GS result and scores for the fourth time this season, all of them top 10 results.
Maze leads the World Cup overall standings 799-468 over Maria Hoefl-Riesch (26th in race). … Zettel sits third overall with 440pts. … Lindsey Vonn (DNF 1st) is fourth with 414pts and Mancuso fifth with 327. … Marie-Michele Gagnon (DNF 1st) is top Canadian overall in 13th with 164pts. … Maze leads the GS standings 400-280 for Zettel. … Worley is third with 160pts. … Gagnon leads the Canadians in 14th with 70pts and Mancuso the US in 15th with 66pts. … Austria leads the women’s Nations Cup 1723-1360 over the US. … Germany is third with 1067. … Canada is ninth with 233pts.
Results — Ladies GS Courchevel Sunday
|Rank||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time|
|22||SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth||1991||NOR||1:14.05||1:07.72||2:21.77|
|Disqualified 2nd run|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|GASIENICA DANIEL Agnieszka||1987||POL|
|RUIZ CASTILLO Carolina||1981||SPA|
|FRASSE SOMBET Coralie||1991||FRA|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|AGERER Lisa Magdalena||1991||ITA|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena||1984||ARG|
|SIMARI BIRKNER Maria Belen||1982||ARG|
|VELEZ ZUZULOVA Veronika||1984||SVK|