Mancuso second in opening race
Vail, CO Colorado
SOELDEN, Austria ” Denise Karbon of Italy won the World Cup season-opening giant slalom, her first victory in four years, and Olympic champion Julia Mancuso finished runner-up on Saturday.
Karbon, who sustained two debilitating injuries over the last few seasons, tore down the Rettenbach course in a two-run combined time of 2 minutes, 23.21 seconds.
“It’s my first victory in a long time,” Karbon said. “But then, it’s the first time in a long time that I haven’t been injured.”
Mancuso finished in 2:23.54 after a speedy top section on her second run to rally from 12th position. Austria’s Kathrin Zettel was third in 2:23.73 after placing 24th after the opening leg.
Olympic silver medalist Tanja Poutiainen, who led after the opening run, slipped to fourth place after a disappointing second effort.
American Lindsey Vonn ” formerly Kildow ” was 13th in 2:24.38.
Overall World Cup champion Nicole Hosp of Austria, who was third after the opening leg, dropped out of the podium placings after struggling with her skis.
“I had a technical problem in the second run,” said Hosp, who won the giant slalom at the season finale in March to edge teammate Marlies Schild for the overall title. “From the beginning I was slipping in the turns. I tried to go for broke on the flats but it was too late. I’d lost too much time.”
Karbon and Poutiainen have the same fitness trainer, Michael Bont, who helped the Italian get fit again after her injuries.
Karbon’s only previous World Cup victory came in a giant slalom at Alta Badia, Italy, in 2003. Since then, she has struggled with health problems, tearing knee ligaments and injuring her ankle.