U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn wins 59th World Cup race of career in Slovenia on Saturday
Vonn upstages home hero Tina Maze to triumph in women's giant slalom at Maribor
Maze extends her overall lead to 748 points as she finishes second ahead of Anna Fenninger
Italian Dominik Paris wins prestigious men's downhill race at Kitzbuhel in Austria
Lindsey Vonn might have surrendered her World Cup crown, the American skier is not giving her heir apparent Tina Maze a free run to glory.
Vonn upstaged the Slovenian on her home course at Maribor to claim the 59th World Cup win of her career in Saturday’s giant slalom.
Maze, who has already sealed this season’s giant slalom title, finished second to extend her overall lead to 748 points from Germany’s Maria Hofl-Riesch, who was fourth behind Anna Fenninger of Austria.
“It was my first GS race since my comeback and I didn’t know I would be able to win today,” said Vonn, who took almost a month out after suffering stomach problems.
“Training went well this week and the conditions were perfect today for a good performance. I know I can ski well in Maribor, the slope suits me. It’s just that I never managed to have two clean runs together.”
She is now three wins behind Annemarie Moser-Proll’s record of 62, having picked up just her third giant slalom victory and her first since she clinched a fourth World Cup title in March 2012.
“The timing for the world championships could not be more perfect. This is a highlight after a tough moment. It also convinced me I could do well in giant slalom and I will race in four events at the worlds,” Vonn said, referring to the February 4-17 event in Schladming, Austria
Maze had led after the first run, but Vonn came from third to win by 0.08 seconds in front of 25,000 spectators.
“I was skiing to win but unfortunately I made a mistake on top and that wasn’t sufficient to beat Lindsey,” said the 29-year-old Maze, who will line up again in Sunday’s slalom.
“I am happy with today. It is an incredible feeling to race in front of so many people cheering for you! I could hear them from top to bottom. Of course it is not easy to race when everybody expects you to win. This adds a little bit of pressure. But there is another race tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it.”
Meanwhile, Italian skier Dominik Paris celebrated his second victory this season after winning the prestigious downhill race at Kitzbuhel in Austria, one of the most feared runs on the men’s circuit.
Paris topped his only previous World Cup win – a dead heat tie for first with Hannes Reichelt in Bormio at the end of last year – with a time of one minute 57.56 seconds.
“This is the best victory one could have in a winter. Bormio was my first and for sure it’s special, but winning Kitzbuehel is something I wanted to do since I was about six years old so this is a dream come true,” the 23-year-old said.
This time Reichelt (1:57.69) had to settle for third place behind Canada’s Erik Guay (1:57.92).
Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal finished ninth to be 59 points behind leader Marcel Hirscher in the race for the overall title.