Viktoria Rebensburg wins GS title
SCHLADMING, Austria -- Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany underlined her status as skiing's leading giant slalom racer, winning the World Cup discipline title for a second straight year on Sunday.
The Olympic GS champion dominated the season-ending race, in which overall champion Lindsey Vonn failed to break the 2,000-point record for one season. The American, who had 1,980 points, needed to finish 12th or better to overtake Austrian great Hermann Maier's 12-year-old mark.
"I fought hard for it. A bummer it didn't work out," said Vonn, who did set a women's record Saturday by overtaking Croatia's Janica Kostelic's best mark of 1,970 points.
Vonn ended the opening run in 16th place and was unable to improve on that after losing her right pole at the start of the final run. She did well to safely guide her way through the gates at the steep middle part of the hill, but finished 4 seconds off the lead in 24th.
"It was possible to get those 20 points, I was in a good position," Vonn said. "If you work so hard to reach your goal but you lose your pole in the very last run, that's hard to take. It will give me even more motivation for next season."
Finishing runner-up to Rebensburg underlined Vonn's growing strength in giant slalom. She won her first two events this season.
"Second place means I've made a huge step," Vonn said. "I hope to also improve my slalom again next year."
Rebensburg led the race after the opening leg and posted the seventh fastest time in the final run for a comfortable victory -- her fourth of the season.
"I am super happy," Rebensburg said.
The 2009 world GS champion finished in a combined time of 2 minutes, 27.24 seconds to beat Austria's Anna Fenninger by 0.64. Federica Brignone of Italy came third, 1.24 behind.
"I did not take anything for granted," said Rebensburg, who led Vonn by 95 points going into the race. "Lindsey won the last race and you never know what happens. I decided to focus on the race and not think about points or standings."
As a GS specialist, Rebensburg surprised by winning the season-ending super-G on Thursday as well. She said it's her goal to become a contender for the overall title.
"You can't plan it but it's the biggest award in ski racing so I definitely want to get there," Rebensburg said. "You have to be consistent in many disciplines, not just in GS."
Julia Mancuso of the United States finished fifth to pass the 1,000-point mark and secure fourth place in the final overall standings behind Vonn, Tina Maze of Slovenia and last year's champion, Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany.
The women's GS was the final race of the World Cup season.