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Tina Maze electrifies Maribor with giant slalom win

Tina Maze electrifies Maribor with giant slalom win{mosimage}Slovenia is a ski-mad country, and Maribor is the epicenter. So, when a
local gal wins at Maribor the wave of excitement extends for miles. It
was a sonic boom that Tina Maze created by fighting through the wind
and 60 plus of the best women ski racers in the world for the first
Slovene win on home snow since Urska Hrovat in 1994.

Maze took the first run lead and held on for dear life as strong winds
blew leaves and an army of Slovene flags and the decibel level reached
for rock arena levels. With temperatures right at freezing, and a
course set open and fast, Maze held off the charge of Italian Karen Putzer
and a brilliant second run from Martina Ertl for her third win of the
season and keep her hopes for the World Cup GS title alive. With the win
in hand, Maze cartwheeled about the finish area in celebration, hoping
to give back to the fans some of the energy they had given her.

“I almost froze up,” Maze said, explaining her reaction in the star
thouse when she heard the crowd noise swell in anticipation of her run.
“Then I said, let’s go Tina, let’s show them a good race. I have been
training here (at Maribor) since I was a young child, so this is very
special.”

Maybe the crowd pushed her to the win, or maybe it was the wind. Either
way, Maze’s win ended the six race, three year Maribor win streak of
Anja Paerson. The Swede, second in the GS standings behind Tanja
Poutianen of Finland, had to settle for fourth, perhaps a victim of the wind
gusts. Poutianen, despite being just eleven tenth of a second slower than
Paerson, finished seventh behind Julia Mancuso and Nicole Hosp who
deadlocked for fifth.

Any of the top three skiers in the standings, Poutianen, Paerson or
Maze could still win the GS title with two races remaining. Putzer,
evidently fully recovered from hip injury, and Spaniard Maria-Jose
Rienda-Contreras are also mathmatically in contention.

It was a good day for the North Americans as well led by Mancuso with
her third top five finish of the season and followed by Lindsey Kildow
and Canadian Allison Forsyth into the top 10. It was a career best GS
result for Kildow, who has six podiums this season in downhill and super
G. For a young skier who has been blistering hot in the speed events,
Kildow felt this placing was as important as her earlier podiums. “This
was, obviously, one of the biggest days of my career as far as techical
skills.”

It may even bring her an extra World Championship start slot, though
she indicated she wouldn’t take it unless she though she could contend
for a medal.

Forsyth, the winner of the bronze medal in the 2003 World Championships
in GS, appears to be regaining her form of that season, but actually,
wasn’t that pleased with her Maribor performance.”I’m a bit bummed out
about a mistake before the pitch,” she said. “I was really going for it
and I could have moved up even more if I had skied a clean run.”

The Canadians also had Genevieve Simard in 12th, and tour rookie Gail
Kelly in 15th. It is the first time Canadian women have had three
finishers in the top 15 of a World Cup race and the first time since the
first year of the World Cup (’67) that any three Canadians have finished in
the top 15.


World Cup

Women’s Giant Slalom
Maribor, Slovenia
Jan. 22, 2005

1. Tina Maze, SLO 2:16l.36
2. Karen Putzer, ITA 2:16.58
3. Martina Ertl, GER 2:17.29
4. Anja Paerson, SWE 2:17.48
5. Julia Mancuso, USA 2:17.58
5. Nicole Hosp, AUT 2:17.58
7. Tanja Poutiainen, FIN 2:17.59
8. Anna Ottosson, SWE 2:17.61
9. Lindsey Kildow, USA 2:17.99
10. Allison Forsyth, CAN 2:18.19
11. Maria Jose Rienda, SPA 2:18.21
12. Genevieve Simard, CAN 2:18.31
13. Jessica Lindell, SWE 2:18.56
14. Nadia Fanchini, ITA 2:18.61
15. Gail Kelly, CAN 2:18.86
16. Michaela Dorfmeister, AUT 2:18.92
17. Maria Pietilae-Holmner, SWE 2:18.95
18. Eveline Rohregger, AUT 2:18.98
19. Maneula Moelgg, USA 2:19.17
20. Marlies Oester, SUI 2:19.24
21. Janica Kostelic, CRO 2:19.25
22. Sarah Schleper, USA 2:19.37
23. Sonja Nef, SUI 2:19.43
24. Kathrin Zettel, AUT 2:19.49
25. Renate Goetschl, AUT 2:19.51
26. Kristina Koznick, USA 2:20.00
27. Fraenzi Aufdenblatten, SUI 2:20.19
other North Americans:
DNF 2nd: Brigitte Acton, CAN.
DNQ 2nd: Sophie Splawinski, Emilie DesForges, Britt Jaynk, Anna Goodman, CAN; Caroline Lalive, Lauren Ross, Resi Stiegler, USA.
DNS 1st: Jessica Kelley, Kaylin Richardson, USA.

THE SCOOP

By Hank McKee

equipment
Women’s GS, Maribor, Jan. 22, 2005

Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Maze, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
2 Putzer, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
3 Ertl, Rossignol/Nordica/Rossignol
4 Paerson, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
5 Mancuso, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
5 Hosp, Volkl/Fischer/Marker
7 Poutiainen, Volkl/Tecnica/Marker
8 Ottosson, Dynastar/Lange/Tyrolia
9 Kildow, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
10 Forsyth, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol

Women’s Giant Slalom, Maribor, Slovenia. … It is the 23rd race of the women’s 32 race, 1 combined World Cup schedule. … It is the sixth of eight scheduled GS’s.

It is the fourth career win, and third this season for Tina Maze. … All in GS. … It is her first win in her home country. … She joined Urska Hrovat (1/22/94) as the only Slovenes to win at Maribor. … She ends a six race win streak at Maribor for Anja Paerson, dating back to 2002.

It is the 15th career podium for Karen Putzer. … Her first of the season. … And first since March 2003.

It is the 56th career podium for Martina Ertl. … Her sixth at Maribor. … It is her second podium of the season.

It is the fifth time Julia Mancuso has been in the top five in her career… four of those are fifth place finishes in three different disciplines and combined. … It is her third top five of the season and second in GS. … It is the 13th career top 10 for Lindsey Kildow… and 10th of the season. … It is her first top 10 in GS. … It is the 23rd career top 10 for Allison Forsyth… All in GS. … It is her second top 10 of the season, behind a third at SantaCaterina 1/8. … It is the 11th time Genevieve Simard has been in the top 12. … Third time this season. … all in GS….It is the second career top 15 for Gail Kelly. … both from this season and both in GS. … It is the 80th career scoring result for Sarah Schleper. … It is her third score in GS this season. … It is the ninth scoring result of the season for Kristina Koznick. … She barely made the cut for the second run, tying for 29th with Fraenzi Aufdenblatten (27th).

Tanja Poutiainen (finished 7th) holds the lead in the overall standings 842-804 over Renate Goetschl (25th). … Poutiainen was one tenth of a second from finishing fourth and gaining 50 pts instead of 36. … Kildow is the top U.S. skier on the overall list in 6th with 667pts … Poutianen also leads the GS standings 381-350 over Anja Paerson (4th). … Simard is the top North American on the GS list in seventh with 165pts. …Mancuso leads the U.S. skiers in 11th with 151. … With two GS’s remaining on the schedule just five skiers can mathematically win the GS title. … Poutiainen, Paerson, Maze, Putzer or Maria Jose Rienda-Contreras (11th in race). … The Austrian women lead the Nations Cup 4006-2420 for the US.

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