SÃ¶lden Report: Paerson wins, Koznick fourth, snow bumpy but solidAnja Paerson, the cheerful Swede who won eleven World Cups last season, did it again this Saturday, winning the first race of the 2004-2005 season in SÃ¶lden, Austria. But Kristina Koznick, the American veteran who went independent this year, laid down a blistering second run to move into fourth place.
“Now I’m hungry,” said Koznick, standing in the finish with an extremely heavy fourth-place medallion around her neck. “It just gives me so much confidence. After a day like this, to go race slalom? Are you kidding? I’d be on a high.”
It was a beautiful day in on the Rettenbach glacier, where the World Cup season has begun every season since 2000. The snow held up despite relatively mild temperatures, and raucous Croatian fans were on hand for the return of Janica Kostelic after a year of injuries. Kostelic finished eighth.
Paerson won the first run, but lost a few hundredths to Poutiainen on the second. In the post-race press conference, Paerson said that she was happy to see Kostelic return because she needed a rival. “When you have only yourselft to look at, it is hard,” she said. “I love to fight with other girls, so I’m very happy that she is back.
Julia Mancuso and Resi Stiegler had strong results, scoring points for the American team. Kaylin Richardson was disappointed after missing the second-run qualification by just 0.01 seconds. Caroline Lalive, Libby Ludlow and Lauren Ross failed to qualify for the second run, and Lindsey Kildow crashed out on the first run.
Stiegler, 18, was one of the youngest competitors in the race, and scored GS points for the first time. She says her coaches Patrick Riml, Chris Knight and Trevor Wagner had helped her overcome her “monkey arms,” urging her to raise her hands, which she says is especially important on a breakover like the one here on the Rettenbach glacier.
The only competitor in the race that was younger than Stiegler was Maria Pietilae-Holmner of Sweden, a protege of Paerson. “I have known her since she was six,” said Paerson, recounting how the two trained together last spring after Pietilae-Holmner won both the GS and slalom at Swedish nationals.
The men race tomorrow in SÃ¶lden. Today they trained gates in the morning on a section of the glacier known as the “Icebox” for its shade. The U.S. Ski Team’s head GS/SL coach Mike Morin says that the U.S. team is ready to go, with Erik Schlopy in particular turning the intensity up.
Morin was selected to set the course for tomorrow’s men’s GS. He already set it, and received the congratulations of the FIS World Cup race director, Gunther Hujara, for his set.
SCOOP, by Hank McKee
Women’s Giant Slalom
Oct. 23, 2004
1. Anja Paerson, SWE 2:25.21
2. Tanja Poutiainen, FIN 2:25.53
3. Maria Jose Rienda Contreras, SPA 2:26.78
4. Kristina Koznick, USA 2:26.95
5. Martina Ertl, GER 2:26.99
6. Anna Ottosson, SWE 2:27.34
7. Michaela Dorfmeister, AUT 2:27.47
8. Janica Kostelic, CRO 2:27.67
9. Nicole Hosp, AUT 2:27.77
10. Karen Putzer, ITA 2:27.90
11. Gail Kelly, CAN 2:27.98
12. Sonja Nef, SUI 2:28.25
13. Elisabeth Goergl, AUT 2:28.51
14. Maria Riesch, GER 2:28.92
15. Julia Mancuso, USA 2:28.94
16. Maria Pietilae-Holmner, SWE 2:28.95
17. Silvia Berger, AUT 2:29.00
18. Karina Birkelund, NOR 2:29.10
19. Eveline Rohregger, AUT 2:29.19
20. Fraenzi Aufdenblatten, SUI 2:29.21
20. Nicole Gius, ITA 2:29.21
22. Barbara Kleon, ITA 2:29.25
23. Resi Stiegler, USA 2:29.30
24. Genevieve Simard, CAN 2:29.58
25. Ana Drev, SLO 2:29.63
26. Nadia Fanchini, ITA 2:30.02
other North Americans:
DNF 1st: Allison Forsyth, Anna Goodman, CAN; Lindsey Kildow, USA.
DNQ: Kaylin Richardson, Caroline Lalive, Libby Ludlow, Lauren Ross, USA; Sophie Splawinski, Brigitte Acton, Britt Janyk, Christina Lustenberger, Emily Brydon, CAN.
By Hank McKee
Equipment, Women’s Giant Slalom
Soelden, Austria Oct. 23, 2004
1. Paerson, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
2. Poutiainen, Volkl/Tecnica
3. Rienda Contreras, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
4. Koznick, Volkl/Tecnica/Marker
5. Ertl, Rossignol/Nordica/Rossignol 6. Ottosson, Atomic
7. Dorfmeister, Atomic/Nordica/Marker 8. Kostelic, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon 9. Hosp, Volkl/Fischer/Marker
10. Putzer, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
It is the 23rd career victory for Anja Paerson, her first at Soelden. She had been second at the site in ’02 and third in ’00. … It is the first Swedish win of the Solden opener.
It is the seventh career podium for Tanja Poutiainen, including a win in slalom at Levi and a second in the ’02 “knock-out” slalom. It is her second career GS podium…. It is the fourth career podium for Maria Jose Rienda-Contreras, her second straight third place finish at Soelden.
It is the 25th top four finish for Kristina Koznick and easily her best result in the Soelden opener. She was 15th in ’01 and 26th in ’00. She was a “did not start,” last season. … It the fourth career World Cup result for Canada’s Gail Kelly and her best, the previous best a 16th at Are (2/22/04). … It is the seventh top 15 result for Julia Mancuso, her first in Giant Slalom. It is her best result in a race before mid-January. … It is the ninth career World Cup score for Resi Stiegler, and her first in anything other than slalom. It is Genevieve Simard’s second result at Solden… She was 20th in ’02. … Kaylin Richardson was one off from qualifying for the second run… Sophie Splawinski was one behind her.
Previous season winners and their finish this season: Ertl (’03) 5th; Flemmen (’02) DNS; Tina Maze (’02) DNF 1st; Nicole Hosp (’02) 9th; Dorfmeister (’01) 7th. Last season’s race featured a three way tie for the win. The first course was set by Swedish Anders Paerson, father of Anja.
Sweden leads the Nations Cup with Austria second, Finland third and the U.S. fourth.