Fenninger beats Rebensburg in Maribor GS; Maze out.
Maribor, Slovenia - After two weeks of intense racing at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, the ladies' World Cup is back in Europe to celebrate the 51st edition of the Golden Fox. The last time the athletes got to race in the Mariborsko Pohorje ski resort was two years ago, since the event had to be staged in Kranjska Gora in 2014 due to the lack of snow.
Austria's Anna Fenninger claimed her second World Cup victory of the season in Maribor on Saturday. The reigning World Champion clocked a combined time of 2:24.50 to edge Germany's Viktoria Rebensburg, who finished a mere 0.04 seconds behind. Rounding out the podium was Tina Weirather, 0.30 seconds off the pace.
Fenninger led Rebensburg by 0.03 seconds after the first run and managed to hold on to her position thanks to a very strong last section. Fenninger's second run wasn't perfect in the first two sections. She was half of a second behind at the second intermediate time.
“I felt that I was not skiing that well in the middle section,” explained Fenninger at the press conference. “So I really tried to push hard in the lower part. I felt I was faster then, but I didn't know if that was going to be enough. I was of course really happy when I saw the green light.”
Viktoria Rebensburg was the runner-up at the World Championships already behind Fenninger and proved she was back to her very best in giant slalom, making her first World Cup podium this season in the discipline.
“Being on the podium is for sure always nice,” said Rebensburg. “Four hundredths of a second, this isn't much and it hurt a little bit in the first place, but I am happy about this second place. I am skiing good in giant slalom again. I was struggling a bit at the start of the season. It is very positive for me to know I can be up there in giant slalom again. It gives me confidence for the rest of the season.”
In seventh place after the first run, 0.74 seconds off the pace, Tina Weirather clocked the fastest time of the second run to climb onto the podium for the third time of the campaign.
“I wasn't expecting it, but I knew it was possible,” said Weirather. “I missed the bronze medal by 0.06 in giant slalom at the World Championships and I have been skiing well in training in the last couple of days. But then you have to do it on race day and that's the tough part. I am very happy it worked out today.”
In front of thousands of cheering fans, home favourite Tina Maze, who pocketed two gold medals and a silver at the world championships in Vail/Beaver Creek, skied out in the first run after she made a mistake a few gates before the finish line.
"I saw myself already through the finish line and I misjudged the last wave," told Maze to reporters. "I came too straight and there was no way I could make it to the next gate. I heard and felt the fans around me. I am disappointed and sorry that I didn't finish today."
Among the big names, Lindsey Vonn didn't make it to the finish line in the first run either. She lost balance at mid-course and ended up sliding on her side into the nets, without hurting herself. Vonn won the last giant slalom race held at Maribor in Januray 2013.
The result lifted Anna Fenninger to 901 points in the overall standings, 84 points behind Maze. In addition, Fenninger (342) now wears the red bib as she overtook her teammate Eva-Maria Brem (296) in the giant slalom rankings.
A slalom race is scheduled for Sunday.
For complete results click here.