BEAVER CREEK, Colorado (Reuters) - Fatigue finally caught up with Slovenia’s snow queen Tina Maze as her bid for a rare five-medal haul at the alpine ski world championships was halted in the women’s giant slalom on Thursday.
Already the winner of two golds and a silver in the Vail Valley, the 31-year-old had to settle for fifth place in her fourth event after finishing the combined two runs 1.74 seconds behind the triumphant Austrian, Anna Fenninger.
Maze briefly occupied third spot after completing the afternoon leg in a time of one minute, 10.82 seconds run before she was dislodged from the podium by bronze medallist Jessica Lindell-Vikarby of Sweden and then Fenninger.
“Yeah, I‘m human,” a weary-looking Maze, who won the women’s giant slalom at last year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, told Reuters with a faint smile after making her way from the finish line at the bottom of the challenging Raptor racecourse.
”I wasn’t feeling 100 percent today but I was fighting and I was close to the rest of the girls. Except for Anna, it was a very close race and it just didn’t work out for me.
“But I will be okay for Saturday’s slalom,” she said, referring to her final event at the world championships.
Fenninger clinched her second gold medal at Beaver Creek with a dominant display, finishing a staggering 1.40 seconds ahead of second-placed German Viktoria Rebensburg despite nearly crashing out on the second run.
Giant slalom world champion at Garmisch in 2011, Maze finished second in the event two years ago at Schladming and had been the pre-race favorite after displaying near impregnable form down the plunging Raptor layout over the past 10 days.
Bidding to join Norway’s Lasse Kjus as the only skiers to win medals in all five disciplines at a single world championships, she had commanded the spotlight at Beaver Creek but said that pressure was never an issue for her on Thursday.
”It was not the pressure today,“ said the Slovenian, who bent over double after crossing the finish line in the giant slalom. ”I felt pressure in the combined on Monday (when she won gold) but today I was really relaxed.
“It was just that my energies were not enough to win today or to be on the podium. I just couldn’t bring out more.”
Editing by Patrick Johnston