Sunday, March 22, 2015

Anna Fenninger Wins Giant Slalom Race and Title and Takes the Overall Globe


The 2014-2015 Audi FIS World Cup came to an end on Sunday in Méribel with the last race of the season finally going to Austria's Anna Fenninger, who retained the overall title, after a suspenseful battle against her rival Tina Maze.
The 31-year-old Slovenian had a slim eighteen-point lead over Anna Fenninger heading into the race. Third out of the gate, Fenninger clocked the fastest time in the first run and saw Tina Maze come close to her mark, just 0.27 seconds out.
The second leg was just breathtaking as Fenninger managed to hold on to her position after an outstanding performance to take the win, 0.38 seconds ahead of team-mate Eva-Maria Brem. Tina Maze put everything on the line to put pressure on Fenninger but had to be content with third place, 0.46 seconds off the pace.
"There was so much pressure today and it was hard to stay focused", said Fenninger. "I was so nervous before the run. When I came through the finish and saw the green light, it was just incredible. I am so happy to be standing as the winner today. This is what I have worked for during some many years".
With the win, Fenninger also secured the Small Globe with 542 points in the giant slalom standings, 106 points ahead of Eva-Maria Brem and 185 points ahead of Mikaela Shiffrin.
"It's been a perfect season for me", Fenninger added. "There are so many people behind me who worked for these globes. I am very thankful to them".
Maze’s end to the winter almost kept pace, but she will leave Meribel disappointed after leading the overall standing for most of the season. She will more than likely look back at the weekend in Maribor where she failed to finish both races as the turning point that allowed Fenninger to creep back into contention. At the end of the day, she lost the title by a mere 22 points despite finishing no worse than fourth at the four events here at World Cup Finals and almost matching Fenninger’s podium streak. She finished second or third in six of the final 10 races.
Maze fell behind in the standings last weekend in Are, Sweden, for the first time since December. It was later revealed that she was dealing with a stomach bug during that weekend and was unable to muster the energy needed to be competitive on the second runs. There has been ongoing speculation that Maze may not race next season, but nothing has been announced formally at the moment. For now, she will leave Meribel looking up at Fenninger with her immediate future in the sport of ski racing in doubt.
"I had a great end of the season", said Maze. "I am really proud of that. But I lost too many points in Maribor or St. Moritz and even in Are when I wasn’t feeling that well. But Anna deserves it. In the end it was fun. It was tight, and it made it interesting. Either win or lose, we were there. I am happy about that".

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