2016 Alpine Skiing World Cup: Vonn and Fenninger miss Sölden opener

Story highlights

  • Anna Fenninger took overall title in last race of 2015
  • Both Fenninger and rival Tina Maze not racing this season
  • Marcel Hirscher bidding for record fifth overall World Cup title

(CNN)It was a season that spanned six months and 32 races at 15 venues but it all came down to the final minute of the entire World Cup calendar.

Austria's Anna Fenninger crossed the line in a time of one minute 13.65 seconds and more crucially in front of Slovenia's Tina Maze to be crowned the 2015 overall champion in a stunning season-long rivalry.
The new season which starts with the Giant Slalom at the Rettenbach Glacier in Sölden, Austria this weekend, however, will not see a repeat of that spectacular duel.
    Maze is taking a year's sabbatical after 16 straight seasons in the sport while Fenninger's hopes of sealing a third straight World Cup overall crown were dashed earlier this week after sustaining a serious knee injury during training.
    Tears to her anterior cruciate ligament and patella tendon in her right knee have ruled her out for the season, according to the Austrian Ski Federation.
    Lindsey Vonn had been due to give the sport a welcome fillip by returning in Sölden from injury but has delayed her season start until the first downhill and Super-G races of the season at Lake Louise, Canada, in early December.
    Vonn, who this week celebrated her 31st birthday, suffered a fracture in her ankle after a crash in August but has since resumed training.

    Hirscher targets fifth straight overall title

    The men's season also gets underway in Sölden as Austrian Marcel Hirscher bids to defend his overall World Cup crown who like his compatriot Fenninger only sealed overall victory in the final race of the previous campaign.
    In the off season, Hirscher, who was victorious at the season opener in Sölden 12 months ago, has been white-water kayaking, undergone a racing driver's course and got involved in dirt-bike racing.
    Hirscher has made no secret of the fact he is targeting Marc Girardelli's record of five overall World Cup titles -- the 26-year-old won his fourth consecutive crown in 2015.
    The Austrian admitted in an interview with CNN that being overall champion "means everything for me, and that's definitely the truth."
    He added: "It was a long way to get there. We try to be professional in every direction. Training, physical training, mentally to be strong, all those things are so important.
    "It's just a big puzzle. Each piece is working really well and that is the most important reason why this is possible."