Tanja Poutiainen of Finland wins World Cup giant slalom in Aspen


Tanja Poutiainen of Finland wins World Cup giant slalom in AspenTanja Poutiainen of Finland won the second giant slalom of the season Friday, just edging Anja Paerson and Janica Kostelic to win in difficult conditions at Aspen Mountain. “It was tough conditions on a tough hill,” said Poutiainen, who last winter became the first Finnish woman to win an alpine World Cup. “There was nothing to do less than full-attack.”

Several inches of fresh snow blanketed the mountain the night before the race, and because course crews were clearing it off, athletes didn’t get a chance to take warm-up runs on the mountain (very little else was skiable outside of the race arena). There were several big crashes over the day, as ruts developed in the grippy snow — already made bumpy because of relatively thin snow cover.

Liechtenstein’s Jessica Walter was injured on the first run. She was on the course for several minutes while medical personnel strapped her to the sled. Meanwhile, American Lauren Ross waited in the start.

The top American finish on the day was Kristina Koznick, who finished 24th with a time of 2:16.18. That was just over three and a half seconds out of first. “It’s incredibly challenging,” she said. “Just the terrain is amazing, and I think it’s because of the lack of snow. All the little bumps in the ground are there, and then unfortunately with the new snow last night, it just kind of blanketed the hard snow, and then broke up. It was really, really bumpy on the first run.”

Kirsten Clark, making her comeback race, qualified for the second run, and finished 28th. “I wanted to be top 30,” she said. “I was maybe a little too cautious, but I’m psyched to get that out of the way and get up to Lake Louise.” Clark says her knee, which she injured last year in a crash at Haus, Austria, doesn’t give her problems in the course but is sore by the time she arrives in the finish.

No Austrians have landed on the podium this season, and today’s race brought no relief for the World Cup’s dominant nation. “I am happy with the result,” said Hans Pum, the alpine director of the men’s and women’s alpine teams of Austria. “Fourth place is a good place, especially for us in women’s giant slalom.”

Two more slaloms are scheduled for the weekend. The starting lineup for the American women includes eight women: Sarah Schleper, Kristina Koznick, Resi Stiegler, Julia Mancuso, Lauren Ross, Lindsey Kildow, Kaylin Richardson and Jessica Kelley.

Men training in Lake Louise
Bode Miller won the third and final training run at Lake Louise, Alberta, where the men’s World Cup speed season opens this weekend. Canadian Erik Guay was second and Germany’s Max Rauffer was third. Click here for pdf results.

World Cup

Women’s Giant Slalom
Aspen, Colo.,
Nov. 26, 2004

1. Tanja Poutiainen, FIN 2:12.49
2. Anja Paerson, SWE 2:12.58
3. Janica Kostelic, CRO 2:12.64
4. Marlies Schild, AUT 2:13.45
5. artina Ertl, GER 2:14.22
6. Nadia Styger, SUI 2:14.44
7. Marlies Oester, SUI 2:14.58
8. Renate Goetschl, AUT 2:14.64
9. Karen Putzer, ITA 2:14.75
10. Elisabeth Goergl, AUT 2:14.93
11. Allison Forsyth, CAN 2:14.99
12. Alexandra Meissnitzer, AUT 2:15.07
13. Tina Maze, SLO 2:15.08
14. Eveline Rohregger, AUT 2:15.16
15. Kathrin Zettel, AUT 2:15.21
16. Nicole Gius, ITA 2:15.22
17. Genevieve Simard, CAN 2:15.26
18. Sonja Nef, SUI 2:15.33
19. Gail Kelly, CAN 2:15.39
20. Anna Ottosson, SWE 2:15.52
21. Ingrid Jacquemod, FRA 2:15.58
22. Michaela Dorfmeister, AUT 2:15.66
23. Silvia Berger, AUT 2:16.01
24. Kristina Koznick, USA 2:16.18
25. Silke Bachmann, ITA 2:16.38
26. Fraenzi Aufdenblatten, SUI 2:16.61
27. Karina Birkelund, NOR 2:16.77
28. Kirsten Clark, USA 2:17.49
other North Americans:
DNQ 2nd: Julia Mancuso, Jessica Kelley, Lauren Ross, Libby Ludlow, Resi Stiegler, USA; Britt Janyk, Brigitte Acton, Anne Goodman, CAN.
DNF 1st: Sarah Schleper, Caroline Lalive, USA.

THE SCOOP
By Hank McKee

Equipment Women’s Giant Slalom, Aspen, Colo., Nov. 26, 2004 skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Poutiainen, Volkl//
2 Paerson, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
3 Kostelic, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
4 Schild, Atomic/Lange/Atomic
5 Ertl, Rossignol/Nordica/Rossignol
6 Styger, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
7 Oester, Head//Tyrolia
8 Goetschl, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
9 Putzer, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
10 Goergl, Blizzard/Lange/Marker

The World Cup women’s GS, at Aspen, Colo., USA 11/26/2004 is the second women’s race of a 29 race (plus 1 combined) season; the second of eight GS’s.

It is the second career World Cup win for Tanja Poutiainen, her first in GS, her previous win being in slalom at Levi, 2/28/04. … It is her eighth career Cup podium, the previous coming in the 2004-05 opener at Soelden where she finished second. … It is the 12th Cup win for Finland, the other ten of them coming from Kalle Palander. … All Finnish wins have been since January 2003. It is a close race with the top three all within .15 of a second.

First race (Solden) winner Anja Paerson finishes second to maintain a share of the World Cup overall and GS standings (tied with Poutiainen at 180 pts). It is the 46th podium for Anja Paerson, her second of the season in two races. It is her 20th career Cup podium.

It is the 30th career podium for Janica Kostelic, her first of the season and first since November 2002. She climbs to third in the Cup standings with 92 pts. She had won the first run by six tenths.

Marlies Schild in fourth scores World Cup GS points. She posted the fastest second run, charging from 13th after first run to finish fourth…

Kristina Koznick, in 24th, scores the best U.S. result. She had been fourth at Solden and holds sixth in the standings. Kirsten Clark is the other American scoring points with a finish of 28th.

The Canadians fared better with Allison Forsyth finishing 11th, the 26th time she has been 11th or better. 25 of those placings have come in GS. … Genevieve Simard finished 17th. She has placed better 15 times starting in Dec. 2001. … Gail Kelly finished 19th, her third best result ever.

Austria maintains the Nations Cup lead 460-278 over Sweden with Italy in third at 254. The women’s standings are led by Austria 292-246 over Sweden with Finland in third at 180.

Janica Kostelic returns to World Cup slalom with historic victoryMaria Riesch, rising alpine star of Germany, out with shoulder injury

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