Lienz, Austria • Anna Fenninger of Austria used a flawless second run to win a women’s World Cup giant slalom Saturday for her fifth career victory.
Cheered on by a home crowd of 8,500, Fenninger was second after the first run but overtook leader Jessica Lindell-Vikarby of Sweden in the final leg to win in a combined time of 2 minutes, 17.00 seconds. Lindell-Vikarby was 0.50 seconds behind.
"My preparation was good but I didn’t believe I could win today," said Fenninger, who has made 19 World Cup podiums over the past three seasons, trailing only Tina Maze (37) and Lindsey Vonn (23).
American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin came in 0.51 back in third for her second podium finish in GS after finishing runner-up in Beaver Creek on Dec. 1, and Austria’s Kathrin Zettel was the only other racer to finish within a second off the lead, 0.96 behind.
Vonn skipped the race to rest her injured right knee ahead of the Sochi Olympics.
It’s the third year in a row that Fenninger has won a World Cup race on Dec. 28. She earned her first career victory here in 2011 and also won a GS in Semmering, Austria, last year.
"It’s funny that I’ve done it again on the 28th," Fenninger said. "I came here full of good memories and I tried to build on that feeling. I’ve learned a lot in recent years. I used to get distracted easily at races in Austria but now I use the home support as positive energy."
Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein came in 17th but kept her lead in the overall standings with 609 points. Fenninger reduced her deficit to just 12 points while Lara Gut of Switzerland, who failed to finish her first run, dropped to third with 568.
"The overall World Cup is not really an issue now, although people keep asking me about it," Fenninger said.
Julia Mancuso, the 2006 Olympic champion, was 4.51 back in 29th. American teammate Megan McJames crashed after hooking a gate with her right ski toward the end of her first run but appeared unhurt.
Aiming for back-to-back victories, Canada’s Erik Guay simply wants to maintain his form for Sunday’s World Cup downhill on the physically demanding Stelvio course in Bormio, Italy.
The Bode Miller-led U.S. speed team, by contrast, is still looking for its first podium finish of the season — with the Sochi Olympics only 41 days away.
And if the final training session in Bormio was any indication, things haven’t changed much since last weekend, when Guay won the Val Gardena downhill and Miller finished fifth.
Guay also led training Saturday and Miller was fifth again.
"I feel like my racing is in a really good spot — better than it’s ever been," Guay said. "And I know the reason as well, so that’s pretty exciting."
Guay won the Val Gardena downhill last weekend but has never finished better than fourth in Bormio.
Miller is still working on his downhill form after a year off to recover from left knee microfracture surgery.
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