The skies were calm, clear, and cold, the snow very firm, and the competition was fierce as Slovenian legend Tina Maze bid her ado at her home venue in Maribor for the FIS World Cup giant slalom on Saturday.
Tessa Worley becomes France’s winningest World Cup GS racer with her career 11th win and her 5th of the season as the disciplines’ points leader charged hard on the bottom split to narrowly beat out Italy’s Sofia Goggia (2nd) and Switzerland’s Lara Gut (3rd). Mikaela Shiffrin slipped to 4th barely missing the podium after winning the previous two World Cup giant slalom events last month in Semmering.
Holding a slim lead over Goggia after the first run, Shiffrin found herself .42 seconds off the pace earning the U.S. Team great her career 12th top five GS finish.
“It was a super fast course and I didn’t quite match the speed that I was carrying,” Shiffrin said. “I’m still learning, so all in all, it’s not a terrible day.”
It’s been a contested battle in giant slalom standings this season with Worley, Gut and Shiffrin all winning giant slalom races–not to mention podium regular Goggia and the strong Italian women’s team, who could podium, and even win, on any given day. Having never won a World Cup event, the hard charging Goggia has 7 top three finishes this season.
Worley was fired up after crossing the finish to a green light on the scoreboard. Then she waited as Goggia and Shiffrin each took their turns, but neither could pass her blazing final split. The 27 year old French dynamo likes the intensity of the competition.
“It’s intense, but it’s awesome because it’s only in skiing that you can feel this feeling and I don’t know, I was so happy at the end to see that I was winning. It’s a great fight, and I’m really happy that all the girls are wanting to win every race and making it so hard. I’m happy because it pushes me to get to my best level.”- Worley
While the day was about the victor, it was also about Tina Maze. In a farewell to fans in her home country, the living legend skied one final World Cup run. Wearing bib 34, the two-time Olympic gold medalist skied the course with one pit stop along the way to hug her coaches.
Of course, Maze recently told the AP that she’s not completely taking the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games off of the list of possibilities, so this race could be more of a “see you later” than a “goodbye” from the Slovenian.
Two other American women pushed out of the start gate. Resi Stiegler and Megan McJames did not qualify for a second run.
Shiffrin now leads the World Cup overall standings with 843 points. Gut sits behind her in second with 643 points while Worley moves into third with 563 points.
Women’s World Cup action continues tomorrow with a slalom race at Maribor.
TOP TEN WOMENS GS at MARIBOR