Slovenia’s Maze wins giant slalom; Kildow takes 9th |

Slovenia’s Maze wins giant slalom; Kildow takes 9th

Roy Kammerer
Slovenia's Tina Maze celebrates after winning the women's skiing World Cup giant slalom race, on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2005, in Maribor, Slovenia. Maze won the race ahead of Italy's Karen Putzer and Germany's Martina Ertl.

MARIBOR, Slovenia – Tina Maze of Slovenia won a World Cup giant slalom for the third time this season Saturday while Lindsey Kildow of the United States enjoyed her best result in the event by finishing ninth.Kildow, a speed specialist, had failed to complete any of her three previous giant slaloms this season. She has won a downhill at Lake Louise, Alberta, and had seven more top-three finishes since.”It was a big step forward – obviously one of the biggest days of my career as far as my technical skills,” Kildow said. “Maybe it will give me a push.”Before a cheering crowd that waved banners with her picture, Maze finished her two runs in 2 minutes, 16.36 seconds for her fourth career title and third in two months. She was 0.22 seconds ahead of Italy’s Karen Putzer on a cold and sunny day. Germany’s Martina Ertl was third in 2:17.29.

Julia Mancuso of the United States shared fifth place in another strong showing by the Americans. Their results of late have raised expectations for the world championships, which start Jan. 28 in Santa Caterina.This was the third straight race Mancuso just missed the top three – she was fourth at Santa Caterina, Italy, and sixth at St. Moritz, Switzerland. U.S. teammate Kristina Koznick was second in the slalom Thursday in Croatia.Kildow’s ninth place qualified her for the worlds in the giant slalom, but she probably won’t enter that event.”I doubt it, but you never know,” Kildow said. “Obviously I won’t win it.”

Finland’s Tanja Poutiainen, the giant slalom and overall leader, was seventh. Poutiainen had her worst performance this season in the giant slalom, trimming her lead in a three-way race. The Finn has 381 points, with Sweden’s Anja Paerson at 350 and Maeze at 328. There are two races left in the discipline.Poutiainen has 842 points in the overall standings with 842 points. Austria’s Renate Goetschl is second at 804 and Croatia’s Janica Kostelic is third at 799. Kildow climbed to sixth at 667.Maze could hear the crowd even before she started her run down the Goldenfox slope.”I almost froze up,” she said. “Then I said, ‘Let’s go, Tina. Let’s show them a good race.’ I’ve been training here since I was a young child. This is very special.”

Maze failed to finish races earlier in her career but is now gaining confidence for the worlds.”If I can overcome all the pressures and fears till now, then I can do well in the future,” she said.Vail, Colorado

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