Fenninger dominant in Lienz giant slalom
LIENZ, Austria – Local hero Anna Fenninger picked up her first World Cup win of the 2013/2014 season with two brilliant runs in a combined time of 2:17.00. She posted the second fastest time of both runs to overtake Sweden's Jessica Lindell-Vikarby, who was in the lead by a mere 0.02 seconds after the first run.
The Swede took second place, 0.50 seconds off the pace, while USA's Mikaela Shiffrin landed her second season podium in giant slalom. Third after the first run, just 0.04 seconds behind the leading time, Austria's Kathrin Zettel couldn’t keep up and ended in fourth position.
Among the favourites, Switzerland's Lara Gut skied out in the first run, while Tina Maze finished 14th, + 3.25 seconds adrift and world cup leader Tina Weirather placed 17th, 3.49 seconds behind.
Fenninger has been in blistering form at this time of the year for the last two years. She won her first World Cup race in Lienz in 2011 and won again in Semmering last year. Including today's victory, the wins all happened on the same day, December 28. Fenninger is the first to win two giant slalom races in Lienz.
“I really love Lienz and the slope”, said the 24-year-old. “I can't explain why I am successful on that specific day. It's just amazing to win again. I have good memories of my fist victory here and if helps a bit for sure.”
In the last three seasons, Fenninger has finished in the top eight in all 18 World Cup giant slalom races that she has completed, with four DNFs during that time.
“I was a bit disappointed with my last giant slalom results. We had a lot of speed events recently and I didn't get much time too train my giant slalom skills. I didn't know I could be able to win today but I was ready to give it all out. It is just great it turned out to be such a big day for me. Wining in front of a home crowd makes it very special for sure.”
Lindell-Vikarby is having her best giant slalom season with one victory and three podiums in five races.
“I am glad to be on the podium and to keep the giant slalom red bib”, said the runner-up of the day. “In Val d'Isère I finished sixth and was a bit frustrated with myself because of the mistakes I made. Today was different, I am very happy.”
In fourth after the first run, Shiffrin put a strong second run together to climb onto the podium for the second time of the season after Beaver Creek.
“I am excited because I am getting closer to first place in giant slalom, that is a good a feeling”, said the 18-year-old. “The last time I raced here I finished last or even didn't qualify for the second run. One can say I've improved a bit”, she concluded smiling.
Negative temperatures overnight in conjunction with the injection work done yesterday allowed for a regular race. According to racers however it turned out to be quite bumpy. In addition, the sun was hidden by some high clouds, making the visibility not so ideal.
In the giant slalom standings Lindell-Vikarby now leads with 332 points, 110 points more than her team mate Maria Pietilae-Holmner. Fenninger sits in fourth position, 114 points behind and takes the second position in the overall standings, just 12 points behind Tina Weirather.
Some more action awaits us tomorrow with an exciting slalom race starting at 10:30 CET.
Here are the full results of the day.