Ofterschwang: Paerson, Rienda Contreras tie for win; Mancuso right behind in 3rd


Ofterschwang: Paerson, Rienda Contreras tie for win; Mancuso right behind in 3rdTwo weeks ago, Julia Mancuso had never quite landed on a World Cup podium, and now she’s been there in three different disciplines.

Her slalom’s not that bad either.

Mancuso was third in Saturday’s GS at Ofterschwang, just a week after finishing second in both Cortina’s downhill and super G.

“It’s cool and I’m excited,” said Mancuso, reached by cell phone just before the awards ceremony. “I’m starting to get used to it.”

Mancuso, who could race each discipline at the Winter Games but is considering skipping the slalom, said the course-setting was better for her on Saturday than it was in the previous day’s race.

Spain’s Maria Jose Rienda Contreras and Sweden’s Anja Paerson finished in a dead heat Saturday to share victory in the final women’s World Cup giant slalom before the Olympics.

Both went down an icy slope in 2 minutes, 28 seconds, 0.09 of a second ahead of third-place Mancuso.

Rienda now has three wins in the season’s seven giant slaloms, and Paerson two.

Paerson, who leads the giant slalom standings, earned her 32nd World Cup win and sixth this season. The 24-year-old, who has won four different disciplines this year, is a contender for several golds at the Torino Games, which start Friday.

”My goal is to go there and have fun,” said Paerson, who has yet to claim Olympic gold. ”I want to be Olympic champion.”

Mancuso has also made herself a medal candidate. The American grabbed her first two World Cup podiums in super G and downhill last week in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

”I’m excited — my skiing’s good. I just want to stay healthy for the Olympics,” said Mancuso, who won two bronzes at the last World Championships.

Rienda Contreras, who picked up her sixth World Cup win, was the first-run leader, but had to catch up on the final downhill after both Paerson and Mancuso pressured her with blistering second runs.

Janica Kostelic, a three-time champion at the last Olympics, failed to qualify for the second run after finishing 3.64 behind Rienda. The Croatian, who was 14th Friday, also injured her hand during her run.

A slalom will be held Sunday — the final race before the Winter Games.

___

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Women’s giant slalom
Ofterschwang, Germany
Feb. 4, 2006

1. Anja Paerson, SWE 2:22.18
1. Maria Jose Rienda Contreras, SPA 2:22.18
3. Julia Mancuso, USA 2:22.27
4. Genevieve Simard, CAN 2:22.84
5. Michaela Kirchgasser, AUT 2:23.23
6. Maria Pietilae-Holmner, SWE 2:23.33
7. Nicole Hosp, AUT 2:23.58
8. Anna Ottosson, SWE 2:23.79
9. Sarah Schleper, USA 2:23.91
10. Christina Lustenberger, CAN 2:23.99
11. Tanja Poutiainen, FIN 2:24.05
12. Kathrin Hoelzl, GER 2:24.24
13. Marlies Schild, AUT 2:24.29
14. Michaela Dorfmeister, AUT 2:24.34
15. Nadia Fanchini, ITA 2:24.43
16. Elisabeth Goergl, AUT 2:24.52
17. Allison Forsyth, CAN 2:24.57
18. Alexandra Meissnitzer, AUT 2:24.93
19. Andrea Fischbacher, AUT 2:25.06
19. Martina Ertl-Renz, GER 2:25.06
21. Ingrid Jacqumod, FRA 2:25.35
22. Fraenzi Aufdenblatten, SUI 2:25.42
23. Jessica Lindell-Vikarby, SWE 2:25.47
24. Karen Putzer, ITA 2:25.68
25. Ana Jelusic, CRO 2:25.73
26. Manuela Moelgg, ITA 2:25.79
27. Nadia Styger, SUI 2:25.85
28. Ana Drev, SLO 2:25.99
29. Tessa Worley, FRA 2:26.46
Other North Americans:
DNQ 2nd: Lauren Ross, Kaylin Richardson, Kristen Mielke, USA; Brigitte Acton, CAN.
DNS: Kristina Koznick, Jessica Kelley, USA.
DNF 1st: Libby Ludlow, USA.

THE SCOOP

By Hank McKee

Equipment
Women’s GS, Ofterschwang, Feb. 4, 2006
Skier, skis/boots/bindings 1. Paerson, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon 1. Rienda, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol 3. Mancuso, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol 4. Simard, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol 5. Kirchgasser, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic 6. Pietilae-Holmner, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol 7. Hosp, Volkl/Fischer/Marker 8. Ottosson, Dynastar/Lange/Tyrolia 9. Schleper, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol 10. Lustenberger, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol

Women’s giant slalom, Ofterschwang, Germany, Feb. 4, 2006. … It is the 26th event of the women’s 34 race, two combined World Cup schedule. … It is the seventh of nine scheduled GS races. … It is the second of three races at Ofterschwang.

It is the 32nd career World Cup win for Anja Paerson. … She is now tied for fifth on the all-time women’s win list with Hanni Wenzel. … It is her sixth win of the season. … It is her 11th career GS win and second of the season. … good for seventh on the all-time women’s win list.

It is the fifth career win for Maria Jose Rienda Contreras. … All in GS. … It is her third win of the season and second in two days. … She has now won more World Cup races than any other Spaniard, taking the mantle from Blanca Fernandez-Ochoa, who won four between 1985 and 1991.

It is the third career podium for Julia Mancuso. … All of them since Jan. 27. … Each of her podiums have come in a different discipline (SG, DH at Cortina and GS Ofterschwang).

It is the fifth career top-four for Genevieve Simard. … Second of the season and second since Jan. 29. … Seven of her 12 scores this season have been top-11 placings. … It is the 35th career top-10 result for Sarah Schleper. … The 12th in GS. … It is her first top 10 of the season. … It is the second career score for Christina Lustenberger. … Her second score in two days, and her first top 10. … It is the 13th scoring finish of the season for Allison Forsyth.

Janica Kostelic (did not qualify for a second run) holds the World Cup overall point lead 1,282-1,121 over Anja Parson. … Michaela Dorfmeister (14th in race) holds third at 1,062. … Lindsey Kildow, (did not race) slips to sixth as the top American with 683 points. … Paerson leads the GS standings 505-405 over Maria Jose Rienda Contreras. … Kostelic is third at 324. … Nicole Hosp is fourth at 321. … With two races remaining, one of these four will win the GS title. … Winning margin is 0.00 … Mancuso is nine-hundredths back in third place. … The top four are within the same second. … Top 11 within two seconds.

QA: Slalom ace Ted Ligety on ski design and key to his successChamonix: DH canceled due to fog, leaving Rahlves in contention for title

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