Anna Fenninger of Austria posted the fastest time in the first run of a women’s World Cup giant slalom yesterday to lead pre-race favorites Tessa Worley of France and Tina Maze of Slovenia by more than half a second.
In difficult conditions because of snowfall, Fenninger came down the Panorama course in one minute, 6.42 seconds to beat second-place Worley by 0.56.
Overall World Cup leader Maze, who has won four of the five GS races this season, came 0.90 behind in third.
“I started well,” said Fenninger, who led Worley by 0.74 at the first intermediate time. “Visibility was good for my run. I am in a new situation now, I have never been in the lead after the first run.”
Fenninger won a GS on home soil — in Lienz — a year ago to the day for her sole World Cup victory.
Maze lost time early in her run as she struggled for rhythm in the first flat section.
“It’s not what I hoped for,” Maze said. “It was a poor start and I had no speed in the flat part. I will have to attack in the second run, but I am quite far behind.”
The only other racer besides Maze to win a GS this season, Olympic champion Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany, finished 1.25 behind Fenninger in sixth place.
Defending overall champion Lindsey Vonn skipped the race as she is taking a break from the circuit to fully recover from an intestinal illness. Her US teammates Mikaela Shiffrin and Julia Mancuso placed 12th and 19th respectively.
“I felt pretty well but somehow the time isn’t there,” said 2006 Olympic GS champion Mancuso, who was 2.64 seconds back. “I was surprised that I was that far behind. I thought I had a pretty good section.”
Mancuso switched her ski supplier in the offseason. Her best result so far in the discipline was sixth in Courchevel, France, on Dec. 16.
“I am better when the snow is really hard,” Mancuso said. “I guess these are not quite my conditions.”