Dorfmeister wins giant slalom title

Obermoser posts first career win
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The Independent Online

Austria's Michaela Dorfmeister won the World Cup giant slalom title on Saturday, stealing the spotlight from teammate Brigitte Obermoser who posted her first career victory in the season finale in Bormio, Italy.

"My big goal of the season was the giant slalom title," said Dorfmeister, who embraced Obermoser in the finish area as the two shrieked with joy. "Now I have it."

The leader after the opening run, Obermoser twisted her way down the long, soft Stelvio course with a two-run combined time of 2 minutes, 42.79 seconds, a solid .24 ahead of her illustrious teammate.

"I made a few mistakes so I'm quite surprised," said Obermoser. "But I wasn't nervous at all. I just pretended it was another training run."

Dorfmeister, trying to protect her 38-point lead over Switzerland's Sonja Nef, her only challenger for the crown, sat third heading into the final run with a 22-second deficit.

The Austrian produced a brilliant second run for an aggregate time of 2:43.03 to finish runner-up, allowing her to clinch the title.

Nef, who sat fourth after the opening leg and needed to finish ahead of her Austrian rival for a chance at the title, made several mistakes her second trip down and slipped to seventh in 2:43.95.

"She was the hunter," said Dorfmeister. "I was in a better position.

"I was under a lot of pressure after Sestrieres where she did so well so I had to go all out. And I did," she said. "I had no other choice but to attack because Nef could have had a really strong race."

The winner of four giant slaloms this season, Dorfmeister finished the season with 684 points in the discipline standings, with Nef runner-up on 602.

"I was only 38 points back which isn't very much," said Nef, who won back-to-back races in Are, Sweden, and Sestrieres, Italy. "I'm pretty disappointed because I know I could have won it. But I went too straight at the gates, which is why I was so slow.

"But I can't be too disappointed. After all, I had three wins this season, which is a personal best for me."

A 16-year-veteran of the World Cup circuit, Austria's Anita Wachter, third in the discipline standings heading into the race, clung to that position thanks to a scorching second run.

Wachter, who was battling for third place in the rankings with Anna Ottosson, had finished a disappointing 14th in the opening leg, just one place ahead of the Swede.

But producing the fastest final leg, Wachter climbed to fifth place, securing her position in the standings with 470 points. Ottosson settled for fourth with 402.

Liechtenstein's Birgit Heeb climbed the podium for the third time this season, placing third in 2:43.55. Germany's Martina Ertl was fourth with 2:43.60.

Obermoser, whose previous best result was a third place in a giant slalom in Are, Sweden, last month, was better known as a speed specialist than a technical skier until this year.

This season the 23-year-old Austrian steadily improved her performance in the more technical giant slalom, where she finished eighth in the final discipline standings.

"I started with downhill two years ago, but then I started training in giant slalom over the summer," Obermoser said. "I realized I was quickly becoming very good at it and that the new carvers were perfect for my style.

"It started going better and better. Now I can't believe it."

Christiane Mitterwallner, second after the opening leg, had a disappointing second run, which dropped her to ninth.

Results from the women's final World Cup giant slalom of the season Saturday in Bormio, Italy:

1. Brigitte Obermoser, Austria, 2:42.79 (1:20.23-1:22.56). 2. Michaela Dorfmeister, Austria, 2:43.03 (1:20.45-1:22.58). 3. Birgit Heeb, Liechtenstein, 2:43.55 (1:20.61-1:22.94). 4. Martina Ertl, Germany, 2:43.60 (1:21.15-1:22.45). 5. Anita Wachter, Austria, 2:43.67 (1:21.45-1:22.22). 6. Karen Putzer, Italy, 2:43.92 (1:20.91-1:23.01). 7. Sonja Nef, Switzerland, 2:43.95 (1:20.46-1:23.49). 8. Maria Jose Rienda Contreras, Spain 2:43.96 (1:20.61-1:23.35). 9. Christiane Mitterwallner, Austria, 2:44.06 (1:20.38-1:23.68). 10. Andrine Flemmen, Norway, 2:44.07 (1:21.03-1:23.04). 11. Renate Goetschl, Austria, 2:44.08 (1:20.76-1:23.32). 12. Allison Forsyth, Canada, 2:44.21 (1:21.33-1:22.88). 13. Regine Cavagnoud, France, 1:44.90 (1:22.56-1:22.34). 14. Anna Ottoson, Sweden, 2:45.14 (1:21.72-1:23.42). 15. Denise Karbon, Italy, 2:45.34 (1:21.27-1:24.07). 16. Anja Paerson, Sweden, 2:45.52 (1:22.39-1:23.13). 17. Christel Saioni, France, 2:45.55 (1:22.82-1:23.73). (tied) Tanja Schneider, Austria, 2:45.55 (1:22.32-1:23.23). 19. Stefanie Schuster, Austria, 2:45.63 (1:22.21-1:23.42). 20. Kristina Koznick, United States, 2:45.74 (1:22.13-1:23.61). 21. Kristina Duvillard, France, 2:45.95 (1:22.73-1:23.22). 22. Eveline Rohregger, Austria, 2:46.67 (1:22.41-1:24.26). 23. Corinne Rey Bellet, Switzerland, 2:46.85 (1:22.11-1:24.74). 24. Isolde Kostner, Italy, 2:46.98 (1:23.25-1:23.73).

Did Not Finish First Run: Sarah Schleper, United States; Mojca Suhadolc, Slovenia;

Did Not Finish Second Run: Carolina Ruiz Castillo, Spain;

Did Not Start Second Run: Spela Pretnar, Slovenia.