By Manuele Lang
ARE, Sweden, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Olympic champion Viktoria Rebensburg stopped Tina Maze’s unbeaten run when she won a women’s World Cup giant slalom in Are on Wednesday.
Setting a combined time of two minutes 28.94 seconds, the German outshone her opponents for her eighth World Cup victory.
Austria’s Anna Fenninger was second 0.62 of a second adrift while Maze, winner of the first four giant slaloms of the season, finished third, 0.91 of a second off the pace.
While Rebensburg had already twice made it into the top three this season, she was forced out of the season opener in Soelden and struggled in the last giant slalom held in Courchevel three days ago, finishing 15th.
“It was much different, it was a much better piste here, not too icy. That’s what skiing is supposed to be,” said the German, who is not taking part in Thursday’s slalom on the same piste.
“It’s good to be back in the lead, it’s a good feeling to win again.
“I can really go home now and have a good time and relax a bit with my friends and my family.”
The World Cup giant slalom champion said she had not resented Maze’s success this season.
“I’m not looking at what Tina is doing. I ski for myself, I try to stay focused on myself. What’s important is that I ski well and it was a real pleasure to ski here,” she said.
Rebensburg took a huge 1.12 seconds lead over Maze in the first run, which salvaged her victory in the second when a gross mistake could have been extremely costly for the German.
Maze’s third place was her eighth podium spot of the season, which took her points tally in the World Cup overall standings to 859 and her lead over second-placed Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany to 351 points.
“If I have to chose between winning races or the World Cup?
“Well I’m looking forward to the overall, I’m longing for a globe. Another highlight is Schladming,” said Maze, who will defend her giant slalom world title in the Austrian resort in February.
Overall World Cup holder Lindsey Vonn, who returned home to the United States to take a rest after an exhausting start to the season, was a notable absentee.
The American will also miss next week’s races in the Austrian resort of Semmering.