CORTINA D'AMPEZZO, Italy (Jan. 19, 2003 (USSA)--Sweden's Anja Paerson built a huge first-run lead Sunday and cruised to her first giant slalom victory of the season by 1.1 seconds over World Cup leader Janica Kostelic of Croatia. Caroline Lalive (Steamboat Springs, CO) had the best U.S. performance, finishing 10th.
Outdoor Life Network will have a World Cup highlights show Thursday night at 10 EST.
Paerson, who also has won two World Cup slaloms this winter (at the Chevy Truck Aspen Winternational over Thanksgiving Weekend and in Sestriere, Italy), led World Cup GS leader Karen Putzer by an overwhelming .75 after the first run. Kostelic made mistakes and was sitting 14th.
The winning two-run time was 2:32.48 with Kostelic, posting the fastest second run, runnerup in 2:33.58. Putzer completed the podium (2:33.91).
Lalive, 18th after the first run, was fifth-fastest on the second run, and moved to 10th in 2:32.48. Kristina Koznick (Burnsville, MN), the only other American to reach the second run, finished 26h. Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO) and Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) were DNF-1 and Kirsten Clark (Raymond, ME) failed to qualify for a second run; Clark and Schleper had scored points in each of the season's first five giant slaloms.
"We had one good result—Caroline—and the rest was not good," said U.S. SL/GS Head Coach Mathias Berthold. "Sarah fell after having the fourth-fastest split...about midway. But Caroline did an awesome job, going to 18th from 31st on the first run. She's improving and improving in GS."
Conditions, with temperatures around freezing (-2 at the start, +2 at the finish), mirrored the hard and fast snow of the two super Gs and downhill earlier in the week. "It was tricky," Berthold said, "and a little difficult to get the right rhythm."
The women's race next weekend in Maribor, Slovenia, with a GS and slalom, the final events before the U.S. women's team is announced for the World Championships, beginning Feb. 2 in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
FIS ALPINE WORLD CUP
Cortina, ITA - Jan. 19
1. Anja Paerson, Sweden, 2:32.48
2. Janica Kostelic, Croatia, 2:33.58
3. Karen Putzer, Italy, 2:33.91
4. Denise Karbon, Italy, 2:34.32
5. Michaela Dorfmeister, Austria, 2:34.43
10. Caroline Lalive, Steamboat Springs, CO, 2:35.12
26 Kristina Koznick, Burnsville, MN, 2:37.69
Did not qualify for 2nd run: Kirsten Clark, Raymond, ME
DNF-1: Sarah Schleper, Vail, CO; Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA
World Cup Standings
Women's Overall (22 races)
1. Kostelic - 1,248 points
2. Putzer, 745
3. Dorfmeister, 647
4. Carole Montillet, France, 598
5. Paerson, 560
7. Clark, 483
14. Lalive, 307
19. Schleper, 242
23. Jonna Mendes, Heavenly, CA, 213
39. Mancuso, 135
49. Koznick, 106
65. Libby Ludlow, Bellevue, WA, 44
69T. Katie Monahan, Aspen, CO, 39
88. Resi Stiegler, Jackson Hole, WY, 24
103T, Bryna McCarty, Concord, VT, 6
Women's GS (6 races)
1. Putzer, 339
2. Sonja Nef, Switzerland, 305
3. Kostelic, 289
4. Paerson, 269
5. Alexandra Meissnitzer, Canada, 234
22. Schleper, 83
25. Lalive, 67
29. Clark, 44
33. Koznick, 30