The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Finally: Defending overall champion Tina Maze wins Cortina downhill for 1st victory of season

  • Print

CORTINA D'AMPEZZO, Italy - Defending overall World Cup champion Tina Maze finally got her first victory of the season, winning the prestigious Cortina downhill Saturday to signal a return to form just in time for the Sochi Olympics.

The Slovenian clocked 1 minute, 37.79 seconds down the Olympia delle Tofane course, which was bathed in sunshine, then performed her trademark handstand celebration during the podium proceedings.

"There were a lot of emotions," Maze said. "It was a really long time. ... When I find the right feeling like I found it today I can ski fast."

Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden of Switzerland finished second, 0.27 seconds behind, and Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein was third, 0.38 back.

Maze had a record-breaking season a year ago with 11 wins. This season, she had only three podium results — until this race.

"When you win a lot you don't learn much," Maze said. "With my ups and downs it's a lot of learning."

Two weeks ago, Maze made a staff change in her personal team, which is run by her boyfriend and coach Andrea Massi. They replaced Walter Ronconi with former Switzerland coach Mauro Pini.

The switch seems to have paid off and the timing couldn't have been better — in the final downhill before the Sochi Games, where the women's downhill is scheduled for Feb. 12.

Pini urged Maze to put more emotion into her skiing.

"That was really good because Andrea was always saying to ski without feelings," Maze said. "But sometimes that's not possible.

"(Pini) brought a lot of peace to our team because compared to Andrea and I he's one step in front of us," Maze added. "And that's what we were expecting from someone in that position. He came really motivated and that makes us easygoing and we have more energy for ourselves."

Pini was formerly Lara Gut's personal coach and he led the Swiss men's squad at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, when Didier Defago won gold in downhill. He then coached the Swiss women's team and more recently was a TV commentator.

"I could sense a good feeling from the first words we shared with each other," Pini said. "Tina never forgot how to ski. She was always capable, she just needed to focus her energy better and get rid of those negative vibes."

"At this level a couple different words here or there can create all the difference," Pini added. "It's not like we had to start over from scratch."

With the skies perfectly clear to show off the jagged peaks that provide some of the most spectacular scenery in the Dolomite Range, Maria Hoefl-Riesch finished fourth to follow up her victory in Friday's downhill. The German said she felt some pain in her left knee after landing a jump awkwardly a day earlier.

Still, Hoefl-Riesch maintained her lead in the overall and downhill standings.

In another strong showing from the U.S. Ski Team without injured Lindsey Vonn, Stacey Cook matched her fifth-place finish from Friday and teammate Julia Mancuso placed seventh to match her best result of the season from a super-G two days earlier.

"It always stings when you are so close to the podium, but I know this is a positive move heading toward Sochi," Cook said.

This was the third of four races in four days. Elisabeth Goergl won a super-G on Thursday and another super-G is scheduled for Sunday.

Weirather finished fourth and second in the opening two races this week.

"It's hard to have four good races in a row but I will try," she said.

Two of the races were originally scheduled for last weekend in Cortina but were wiped out by heavy snowfall. The other two were moved from Garmisch-Partenkirchen due to a lack of snow in the German resort.

The women's circuit then moves to Kranjska Gora for a giant slalom and slalom next weekend — the final races before Sochi and Maze's home event.

"I'm really excited to ski that slope," Maze said

___

Follow Andrew Dampf at http://twitter.com/asdampf

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Blake Wheeler talks about past season

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • JJOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-Postcard  Day-Horror frost and fog created a most beautiful setting at Assiniboine Park Thursday morning in WInnipeg- Enviroent Canada says the fog will lifet this morning and will see a high of -7C-  JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- Feb 18, 2010
  • A female Mallard duck leads a group of duckings on a morning swim through the reflections in the Assiniboine River at The Forks Monday.     (WAYNE GLOWACKI/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS) Winnipeg Free Press  June 18 2012

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What Western Conference teams will emerge from the first round of the NHL playoffs?

View Results

Ads by Google