Contreras Wins First World Cup Race, Takes Are GS


February 20, 2005

ARE, Sweden (AP)--Maria Jose Rienda Contreras of Spain won her first career World Cup race Sunday, easily taking the giant slalom on the same hill where she was runner-up a year ago.

Rienda Contreras, who has skied 11 seasons on the World Cup circuit, had a combined two-run total of 2 minutes, 04.68 seconds down the Olympia course.

``Finally it happened,'' Rienda Contreras said. ``I've had a tough career, but I've improved step by step every year. Today, I was able to ski two really good runs.''

Nicole Hosp, the first-run leader from Austria, was second in 2:05.26, and Anja Paerson of Sweden took third, 0.89 off the pace. Julia Mancuso of the United States finished fourth, 0.93 behind. Janica Kostelic of Croatia was 11th.

Paerson overtook Kostelic in the overall standings with 961 points, eight ahead of Kostelic. Tanja Poutiainen of Finland skied out early in the first run and dropped to third overall with 909 points.

Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press