Tina Maze savors Soelden giant slalom victoryTina Maze won the season-opening World Cup women’s giant slalom on Saturday and this time victory was hers alone.
The 22-year-old Slovenian — who was forced to share her maiden World Cup win here in the 2002-03 season with Austria’s Nicole Hosp and Norway’s Andrine Flemmen in an unprecedented three-way tie — claimed victory with a two-run combined time of 2 minutes, 24.59 seconds.
“This is my hill, I feel good here,” said Maze. “This time things finished a little differently for me. I didn’t have to share the win. It was all mine. This time I was the strongest. Really.”
Maze collected three World Cup victories last season, all in giant slalom, and finished fourth in the season-ending discipline standings.
Reigning Olympic giant slalom champion Janica Kostelic of Croatia was fifth after the opening leg but delivered the fastest second run down the steep and tricky Rettenbach glacier to vault into the runner-up position in 2:24.93.
Overall World Cup champion Anja Paerson of Sweden slipped from joint-second after the opening run to finish third, 0.04 seconds further back.
Kostelic, who finished a close second to Paerson in the chase for the overall title last season, partially ruptured a tendon in her left hamstring during training last month.
The triple Olympic and five-time world champion also underwent surgery four months ago to remove damaged cartilage in her right knee — her fifth operation in little more than a year.
She returned to the World Cup circuit last season following three knee operations and surgery to remove her thyroid gland.
“I was jumping in the finish because I was happy to be on podium in GS. It doesn’t happen often,” Kostelic said. “I was skeptical about my first race, I didn’t have a very good preparation.”
“It’s a huge surprise,” she added. “My shape wasn’t so good because I was injured most of summer.”
Paerson’s priority this season is the Olympics rather than defending her World Cup overall title.
“I’m happy to be on the podium,” Paerson said. “I am not at the top of my form yet. I am starting slowly since I want to peak in February for Turin. That is the most important thing for me this season. I’ll come back in December a little stronger.”
The women’s World Cup circuit resumes with speed races in Lake Louise, Canada, on Dec. 2-4.
World Cup discipline champion Tanja Poutiainen of Finland, who was leading after the opening leg, had a poor second run, dropping 2.51 seconds back to 11th place. Poutiainen won the giant slalom and slalom World Cup titles last season.
Renate Goetschl, who finished third overall last season, was involved in a spectacular crash on the opening run. She was not injured but it was a rough start for the Austrian, who was coming off a training injury to her left knee.
Genevieve Simard of Canada placed ninth in 2:26.94, while Kristina Koznick was the fastest U.S. skier in 17th place, 3.06 off the pace. Lindsay Kildow failed to qualify for the second leg.
American skiers Resi Stiegler and Sarah Schleper opted not to start. Stiegler hurt her left shin in Friday’s training, while Schleper had back problems.
The day began with a minute’s silence before the race for the victims of a gondola accident here last month, in which nine German visitors — including six ski club juniors — were killed.
By Hank McKee
Women’s Giant Slalom
Oct. 22, 2005
It is the opening race of the 2005-06 World Cup season, the first of nine scheduled GS races.
It is the fifth career win for Tina Maze, all in GS. … It is her second win at Soelden (Oct. 26, 2002). … She was fourth in 2003 and a first-run DNF last season. … She is the only Slovene to have won at Soelden. … It is the 25th victory for Slovenia. … No Slovene but Maze has won since 2000.
It is the 39th career World Cup podium for Janica Kostelic, but her first at Soelden. … It is the 56th career podium for Anja Paerson. She won at Soelden last season and was second in 2003, was also 3rd in 2000. … first- run leader Tanja Poutiainen had a difficult second run to finish 11th.
Career-best results for both Kathrin Zettel in fourth and Andrea Fischbacher in fifth.
It is the 11th top-10 World Cup result for Genevieve Simard. … Her previous best at Soelden had been 20th in 2002. … It is the fifth time Allison Forsyth has recorded a 12th-place World Cup result. … She has been better than 12th 29 times. … It is the eighth-best career GS result for Kristina Koznick. … Her best in GS was at fourth at Soelden last season. …It is the ninth scoring result in GS for Julia Mancuso. … She was 15th at Soelden last season.
Women’s Giant Slalom
Oct. 22, 2005
1. Tina Maze, SLO 2:24.59
2. Janica Kostelic, CRO 2:24.93
3. Anja Paerson, SWE 2:25.03
4. Kathrin Zettel, AUT 2:25.98
5. Andrea Fischbacher, AUT 2:26.22
6. Anna Ottosson, SWE 2:26.36
6. Maria Rienda Contreras, SPA 2:26.36
8. Martina Ertl, GER 2:26.41
9. Genevieve Simard, CAN 2:26.90
10. Elisabeth Goergl, AUT 2:37.00
11. Tanja Poutiainen, FIN 2:27.10
12. Allison Forsyth, CAN 2:27.20
13. Ana Drev, SLO 2:27.34
14. Ingrid Jacquemod, FRA 2:27.41
15. Nika Fleiss, CRO 2:27.52
16. Marlies Oester, SUI 2:27.61
17. Kristina Koznick, USA 2:27.65
18. Manuela Moelgg, ITA 2:27.69
19. Brigitte Acton, CAN 2:27.87
20. Sonja Nef, SUI 2:27.93
21. Julia Mancuso, USA 2:28.02
22. Michaela Dorfmeister, AUT 2:28.09
22. Nicole Hosp, AUT 2:28.37
23. Maria Pietilae-Holmner, SWE 2:28.14
24. Maria Riesch, GER 2:28.16
25. Karen Putzer, ITA 2:28.19
26. Nicole Hosp, AUT 2:28.37
27. Andrine Flemmen, NOR 2:29.06
28. Sarka Zahrobska, CZE 2:29.83
DNS 1st: Sarah Schleper, Resi Steigler, USA.
DNF 1st: Kaylin Richardson, Lauren Ross, USA.
DNQ 2nd: Kristen Mielke, Jessica Kelley, Lindsey Kildow, Stacey Cook, USA; Sophie Splawinski, Britt Janyk, Shona Ruebens, Emily Brydon, CAN.
Women’s GS Soelden, Austria
Oct. 22, 2005
1 Maze, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
2 Kostelic, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
3 Paerson, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
4 Zettel, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
5 Fischbacher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
6 Ottosson, Dynastar/Lange/Tyrolia
7 Rienda Contreras, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
8 Ertl, Rossignol/Nordica/Rossignol
9 Simard, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
10 Goergl, Blizzard/Lange/Marker