Monday, January 14, 2013

Maze writes history once again

However the season will finish, Tina Maze will remember this season for the great pages she wrote in the history of skiing. After having broken the record of number of podiums achieved by the new year, after hitting more than 1000points by the half of the season, she still had one great achievement to hit: winning at least one race in all five disciplines, something that only five girls were able to before this weekend (Petra Kronberger, Pernilla Wiberg, Anja Paerson, Janica Kostelic and Lindsey Vonn). Maze needed only one superg win and after the delusion of seeing that win fading in St. Moritz for a bunch of hundreds, she could finally snatch this very first win in St. Anton and enter the history once more.

McKennis wins her first WC race

The first day of this Austrian weekend devoted to speed events saw a shortened downhill, which had brought a lot of talking even before its start. The very technical slope had seen only one training because of the very intense snowfalls of the week and the organizers decided to make it a little easier by cutting the top part trying to clean the course from the fresh snow.
In such conditions it's known how the early numbers can be favourited by a slope that passage after passage gets more and more ruined hence harder to ski well on it, but that didn't diminish the amazing display of technique and wise choice of lines that the young American Alice McKennis showed by running down with bib 4. Alice looked very determined and made almost no mistakes on the technical turns that characterize the Austrian slope, nonetheless looking very compfortable in the few gliding sections.
The proof that her leadership was going to last longer than one could have expected arrived a few runs afterwards, when hot-form Anna Fenninger skied an almost flawless run, but still finished behind the American (the Austrian eventually finished 3rd).
One by one all the big names of the Downhill had to surrender to the young American, who stayed on the leaderbox watching anxiously each of them until the very moment they had crossed the finish line with a higher time than hers.
Bib 10 and World Cup leader Tina Maze after the big disappointment of Zagreb knew she had to do a great run in order to stay ahead of Vonn and keep gaining points on the American, but as for Fenninger her almost flawless run wasn't enough and that little mistake on the long turn to beging the flat section would eventually cost her the podium, as she would be 4th by the end.
Everyone was waiting to see what Lindsey Vonn would have done, the American had been away from the tour for almost a month and little news came from her, surely if she was back, she was back to win and even if a little rusty, she clearly tried her best and you could see on Alice's eyes a great surprise when even Vonn finished behind her and for a bunch of hundreds even behind Maze.
If the next few girls in the top group didn't seem to be able to cope with the bumps which formed on the course, the last one of them to run down, Italian Daniela Merighetti prooved how it was still possible to score a competitive time and for very little she didn't break Alice's dreams for a victory. The Italian, who had scored her very first victory in world cup just last year in Cortina, started with a very convincing lead on the top intermediate, but making a very big mistake on the entry of the "channel", which cost a big toll by the next intermediate, but surprising as no-one else was able to do such a thing, she started to make up hundreds on hundreds on the second half of the course finishing very close to the American, but still second. Nevertheless you could easily see the great happiness of hers to be finally back on podium.

Maze above all first time in Superg

Unlike the day before, the Sunday's Superg didn't see a lot of surprises in terms of names on top, as all the top 7 finishers came from the top group, the surprise came though by the absence of Vonn from the podium and the fact that the win was a duel between two girls who had never won in that discipline before.
When top group was about to start at the lead of the race there was Viktoria Rebensburg, who exploited her great ability of GS specialist to do so and her time seemed very hard to be beaten. Actually the first to better her was the queen of last years Superg's cups, Lindsey Vonn, who, by taking the lead, seemed on her way to another podium, but some insecurities in the very tight turns on the top could give hints that today she was beatable.
Immediatly after the American, Austrian Fenninger did exactly what was possible to better Lindey time, which meant to be absolutely perfect there where Vonn had not been, where the turns were tight and very hard to tame. The Austrian was smooth and elegant and that gave her an amazing advantage by the end as she was almost a second faster than everyone else before.
Lara Gut, after the big disappointment of yesterday's downhill, had little to content herself as she didn't shine as she hoped, even if she could finish 7th by the end. Right after, it was Maze's turn and by showing a very different way of performing this course wasn't but as effective as Fenninger in every section of the course and this way she made a nail-biting race where every little flaw, even the smallest could have meant enough for the final win. It was all between the two of them, both with 3 second places in that discipline and no win yet, one of them would have finally taken this victory, for the other it would have been the 4th silver. 4 hundreds, so few that when you have said it loud they have passed already, so few, but they meant so much for Maze as she could take, thanks to them 4, her very first win and enter history.
But if the duo on top finished very tight, the podium got decided by even less as Swiss Fabienne Suter killed the chance for Vonn's podium by just one single hundred.

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