BEAVER CREEK, Colorado (Reuters) - Slovenia’s in-form Tina Maze will continue her bid for a record equaling five-medal haul from the alpine ski world championships as one of the favorites for the women’s super combined title on Monday.
Having already collected gold in the downhill and silver in the Super-G, Maze is clearly enjoying herself on the challenging Raptor racecourse where she will strive to go one better than her second place in the combined at the 2011 and 2013 worlds.
At the age of 31, the ever-smiling Slovenian eclipsed Swiss Roesli Streiff as the oldest women’s world champion and she is one of only six female ski racers who have won in all five World Cup disciplines.
“I’ve had a great season,” said World Cup leader Maze, who has recorded podium finishes in all four disciplines raced so far. “As the world championships are our most important races, I really came here with a big wish and will to win.”
Only Swede Anja Parson (in 2007), Austrian Benjamin Raich (2005) and Norway’s Lasse Kjus (1999) have claimed five medals at a single world championships and Maze believes she can join that elite club.
“I can do this,” said Maze, who opted to skip super combined training. “I knew that before I came here so it’s of course in my mind. But you have to go day-by-day, turn-by-turn, from discipline-to-discipline.”
Other leading contenders for the super combined title include 2011 world champion Anna Fenninger, her fellow Austrian Nicole Hosp, who was the silver medalist at the Sochi Winter Olympics last year, and Swiss speed specialist Lara Gut.
Hosp, 31, has recorded seven World Cup podiums in the combined but just one win, which came at Tarvisio in 2007.
Only American speed queen Lindsey Vonn has posted more World Cup podiums in the combined discipline with a career total of 12.
Vonn, who was denied gold medals in her two best events earlier in the championships, will also be competing on the Raptor piste in Monday’s combined but considers herself a long shot for the title.
“I still have two more chances in the super combined and GS (giant slalom),” said the 30-year-old American, who took bronze in the Super-G before finishing fifth in the downhill on Friday.
“Although my chances of doing something there are slim, I will definitely be giving it 110 percent to make a miracle happen.”
Editing by Gene Cherry