VAL D'ISERE, France Dec. 12, 2002 (USSA)--Italy's Karen Putzer took the first-run lead Thursday in a World Cup giant slalom and went on to collect her second consecutive victory, edging Sonja Nef, the defending World Cup and world GS champion. Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO) led four American women into the top 30, finishing in a tie for eighth place.
Outdoor Life Network will televise coverage of the season's third GS Saturday (12/14) at 3 p.m. EST.
Putzer, whose three previous World Cup wins were in super G, including last Sunday at Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies, had a two-run time of 2:22.17 as she climbed into second place in the World Cup points behind Croatian Janica Kostelic, who was fifth. Nef finished with a time of 2:22.53.
Schleper, ninth in the first run, tied Austrian Nicole Hosp for eighth place (2:23.35) with Caroline Lalive (Steamboat Springs, CO) 17th, Kirsten Clark (Raymond, ME) 22nd and Kristina Koznick (Burnsville, MN) 29th.
"It was a good day for us because GS is not our strongest event, but Sarah had a good race—her best GS in two years—and Caroline came from a No. 55 start to get her best giant slalom finish in three years. I was really happy with Sarah's race and Caroline's placing gives us another quota spot in GS," said Head Coach Marjan Cernigoj. "We were able to bring the intensity from Canada to Val d'Isere, which was excellent.
"We had a long, cold week at Lake Louise and I was concerned about people getting sick, but they've all been healthy and today they had that fire again. The light was flat on the second run," he continued, "but the snow was ideal, just perfect conditions. That was why Caroline was able to attack from the back, the conditions held up."
Clark was 12th in the first run "and was attacking on the second run—she's so confident now in her GS; she knows she can ski with these girls in GS—but she made a mistake in the middle and there's no place to make—up time. But she was really aggressive."
The women complete their visit to Val d'Isere Friday with the third super G of the season.
FIS ALPINE WORLD CUP
Criterium des Neiges
1. Karen Putzer, Italy, 2:22.17
2. Sonja Nef, Switzerland, 2:22.53
3. (tie) Alexandra Meissnitzer and Michaela Dorfmeister, both Austria, 2:23.05 each
5. Janica Kostelic, Croatia, 2:23.10
8T. Sarah Schleper, Vail, CO, 2:23.35
17. Caroline Lalive, Steamboat Springs, CO, 2:23.70
22. Kirsten Clark, Raymond, ME, 2:23.97
29. Kristina Koznick, Burnsville, MN, 2:25.32
WORLD CUP STANDINGS (after 8 races)
1. Kostdelic, 467 points
2. Putzer, 307
3. Carole Montillet, France, 301
4. Martina Ertl, Germany, 260
5. Dorfmeister, 242
6. Clarky, 237
22. Jonna Mendes, Heavenly, CA
25. Schleper, 92
38T. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA, 51
57T. Koznick, 27
69. Katie Monahan, Aspen, CO, 15
74T. Libby Ludlow, Bellevue, WA, 11
84T. Bryna McCarty, Concord, VT, 6