Mancuso slips to second overall
ZWIESEL, Germany – Julia Mancuso slipped to second in the overall World Cup standings after Tanja Poutiainen won a giant slalom race Saturday and Nicole Hosp finished second.Hosp moved 19 points ahead of Mancuso in the overall standings. Mancuso, who finished fifth, entered the event tied with Renate Goetschl of Austria for the overall lead. Mancuso led after the first run.”There’s always pressure when you win the first run,” Mancuso said. “You have to hold off the others and have a fast run too. But it didn’t work out the best today.”Mancuso is attempting to become the first American woman to win the overall title since Tamara McKinney in 1983.
Finland’s Poutiainen won her first World Cup victory in more than two years, finishing the fog-delayed event in 1 minute, 50.12 seconds. Austria’s Hosp was .11 seconds off the winner’s pace, and teammate Michaela Kirchgasser was .14 seconds slower.Mancuso, the Olympic champion in the giant slalom, completed the first run in foggy, snowy conditions in 55.28 seconds, ahead of Poutiainen and Kirchgasser. During the second run, Mancuso was timed in 55.26 and finished in 1:50.54.Poutiainen last won a World Cup race in January 2005.”You just have to be patient,” said Poutiainen, who won an Olympic silver in giant slalom. “You have to put together two excellent runs to win.”
By picking up 80 points for her second place, Hosp moved ahead in the overall standings with 1,263 points. Mancuso follows with 1,244 and Austria’s Marlies Schild, who finished eighth in the race, is third with 1,220.”It’s been really close for a while, and I think the title won’t be decided until the final race,” Hosp said.Goetschl finished 30th and dropped to fourth with 1,200.Poutiainen finished fifth overall in the 2004-05 season, winning both the slalom and giant slalom discipline titles. She collected just two third-place finishes during the 2005-06 World Cup season.
This season, Poutiainen has five top-three finishes.Hosp leads the giant slalom standings with one race remaining this season. She is 16 points ahead of Poutiainen, leading the event 390 to 374.To stay in the running for the overall title, Mancuso will need a strong performance in the slalom Sunday and next weekend’s races at the final stop on the World Cup circuit in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.