France's Tessa Worley wins World Cup giant slalom
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (AP)
World champion Tessa Worley of France won a World Cup giant slalom on Sunday, racing to the fastest time in both runs.
Worley sped down in a combined time of 2 minutes, 7.62 seconds to deny Jessica Lindell-Vikarby of Sweden a second straight GS victory by 0.37 seconds.
Tina Maze of Slovenia, the defending overall World Cup champion, matched her best result of the season in third, trailing Worley by 0.79.
"It's really a relief," said Worley, who had a best finish of ninth in the first two GS races this season. "This race was very important because I started the season not at all like I hoped."
Worley, who won here three years ago, got her eighth career World Cup win -- all in giant slalom. She also won the gold medal in February at the worlds in Schladming, Austria.
Overall standings leader Lara Gut of Switzerland and Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States were among expected contenders who did not complete the first run. Both slid out on the aggressive snow surface.
"It was perfect snow really. Running (bib) No. 1, I was loving every second of it until I fell," said Shiffrin, who was runner-up behind Lindell-Vikarby in the previous GS race at Beaver Creek, Colorado, this month.
Lindell-Vikarby leads the discipline standings after three of eight scheduled races. Zettel is second and Worley moved up to third.
Maze showed flashes of her record-setting 2013 form and some emotion when she crossed the line as provisional leader with five racers still to come down.
The 30-year-old Slovenian, whose coach and partner Andrea Massi was absent Sunday, did not smile and pounded her chest repeatedly with her right fist. She now has two podium finishes in 10 races but no wins after taking 11 victories last season.
"I thought I had to do this day for myself," Maze said through a translator after explaining that Massi was ill Sunday. "I have to manage the race."
Maze earned 60 race points and is fifth overall, trailing Gut by 192.
Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany placed 11th Sunday and moved ahead of Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein into second overall.
Weirather, who won Saturday's super-G, also skied out in the morning.
Julia Mancuso was the best-placed American in 12th, trailing Worley by 2.59. Megan McJames was 23rd, 3.07 back.
Lindey Vonn skipped the St. Moritz meeting as she manages a right knee injury ahead of the Sochi Olympics. She plans to return in a downhill next weekend at Val d'Isere, France.
The women's circuit stops en route in the French Alps on Tuesday, for a slalom at Courchevel where world champion Shiffrin should start favorite.