A big first run lead proved to be enough of a margin for Tina Maze to collect her third win on Soelden’s glacier, and her first in seven years.
The World Cup season got off to a studdered start as the fog threatened first run was followed by a more foggy second with a pelting wet snow added on. Visibility proved difficult for most competitors with more than 28percent of the 64 starters failing to finish.
Earning second and helping to dis-spell the notion all would be business as usual was Kathrin Zettel with third going to fellow Austrian Stephanie Koehle. Not one of the top three won a GS race a season ago. Koehle had never seen a podium before and Zettel had not won since sweeping Maribor’s GS and slalom in 2010.
Lindsey Vonn caught her left hand on the base of a gate and ended her day prematurely. She remained philosophical and tried to stay up beat, but was clearly hurting.
Canadian Marie-Michele Gagnon opened her season well in sixth and said she had actually trained for racing in poor light.
The day was won by Maze in relatively easy fashion, though her first run margin of .74 of a second was cut in half to .42 in the difficult second run.
“I have to say it is a very special day for me and for my team,” the Slovene veteran said. “My first run was incredible. My second was a big fight for me, like for everybody I guess. We had trained in the same conditions.”
Maze added he was honored to matched one of the all time great racers with her third Soelden win. “Only Hermann Maier has won three times here.”
A frustrating 2012 season made this victory, her 12th, all the more satisfying. “GS was always my best discipline and last year I was trying and trying and trying and I was having problems with my material. I was all year a fight, no fun you know, like come on.”
Koehle wore a huge smile as she sat on the interview stand and said the podium was like a dream come true. “To be on the podium after such a difficult run is more than I can dream,” she said. “It’s a nice step, but only the first step toward the World Championships… it will help me to ski relaxed. I will try to not think too far ahead and go step by step.”
For Zettel the placing was a reprieve and perhaps a step back to 2009 and 2010 when she finished fourth and fifth overall respectively.
“It was an emotional day for me,” said Zettel. “How much I had to fight the last few years with my back. This result is so special. It has ended a very long and difficult time in my life.”
The start was not what Lindsey Vonn had anticipated. She was 12th after the first run and that cut down on her choices for the second. “I was going for broke. I had no other option but to risk everything,” she said of her ill-fated second heat. “I was going pretty straight and unfortunately caught my arm on the base of the gate.” She said bad weather was something she has encountered any number of times racing downhill saying, “You have to man up and charge if you can see the ground or not.”
Gagnon said poor visibility has been problem for her in the past, but indicated she may have worked through that issue. “Visually I’ve had trouble in the past with bad light, because I was injured in bad light, and we really worked on that this summer. It was hard to see and everything but you just have to trust that the snow is good underneath you and from the first run it was the most amazing feeling the snow was perfect. It was hard. It was grippy. I made mistakes like everyone did, but I got some positive feeling out of today.”
Just missing the cut for the second run, by a hundredth of a second, was the youngest in the field, 17 year old Mikaela Shiffrin. She was in the hunt up until the final flat where she lost ground quickly. “I kept telling myself I was going too round, too round. I thought, maybe I can correct it here… maybe here. … and then I was under the finish banner.”
Julia Mancuso exited the first course when she lost a ski between the gates. She said there were no real ruts present and couldn’t really explain what happened. “Snow snake,” she said. “I guess they’re real.”
by Hank McKee
Women’s World Cup Giant Slalom, Soelden, Austria, Oct. 27, 2012.
1 Maze, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
2 Zettel, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
3 Koehle, Voelkl/Fischer/Marker
4 Gisin, Dynastar/Lange/Marker
5 Fenninger, Head/Head/Head
6 Gagnon, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
7 Karbon, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
8 Curtoni, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
9 Lindell-Vikarby, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
10 Barioz, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
Women’s World Cup Giant Slalom, Soelden, Austria, Oct. 27, 2012. … It is the first race of the 2012-2013 World Cup season. … The first of 74 races, the first of 38 women’s races and the first of nine women’s GS’s. … It is the 28th race, all GS’s, held at Soelden.
It is the 12th World Cup victory for Tina Maze. … her third at Soelden, matching Hermann Maier for the site record. … It is her ninth GS win and first in GS in a year.
It is the 38th career World Cup podium result for Kathrin Zettel. … her 17th in GS and her fourth at Soelden.
It is the first career World Cup podium for Stefanie Koehle. … Her previous best Cup finish had been sixth scored last season at Lienz. … Her top top 11 Cup finishes have all come in GS.
Marie-Michele Gagnon matches her fourth best career finish and her second best ever in GS after a fifth scored at St Moritz Dec. 12, 2010. … It is the fourth best career Cup finish for Marie-Pier Prefontaine. … her third best in GS. … Her top finish is ninth in GS scored at Arber-Zwiesel Feb. 6. 2011.
No US racers completed both runs.
Maze takes the early lead in the World Cup standings 100-80 over Zettel. … There were just 21 finishers. … just one skier was within a second of the winning time. … Just three within two seconds.
Susanne Weinbuchner scored her first World Cup points from the 58th starting position.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||FIS Points|
|15||34||425880||SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth||1991||NOR||1:16.42||1:20.22||2:36.64||30.74|
|16||48||495318||RUIZ CASTILLO Carolina||1981||SPA||1:16.41||1:20.35||2:36.76||31.45|
|21||22||298084||AGERER Lisa Magdalena||1991||ITA||1:16.31||1:21.31||2:37.62||36.50|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|65||435334||GASIENICA DANIEL Maryna||1994||POL|
|37||705287||VELEZ ZUZULOVA Veronika||1984||SVK|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|64||35079||SIMARI BIRKNER Maria Belen||1982||ARG|
|45||197124||FRASSE SOMBET Coralie||1991||FRA|