March 2, 2015 / 11:09 AM / 4 years ago

Apine skiing-Fenninger increases pressure on Maze

BANSKO, Bulgaria (Reuters) - Anna Fenninger increased the pressure on World Cup leader Tina Maze with her fourth back-to-back victory in a women’s Super-G in Bansko on Monday.

First placed Anna Fenninger of Austria celebrates with trophy after the women's Super G event of the Alpine Skiing World Cup in Bansko, March 2, 2015. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

After winning in one minute 14.59 seconds, the Austrian stands only 44 points behind her Slovenian rival and seems to be improving with every race as Maze struggles for her best form.

“It would be great if things continued this way and I would not mind a repeat of last year. But Tina is still very strong and she will fight for every point,” Fenninger told reporters.

After a sluggish start to the season, the 2014 overall World Cup champion has won the last four races she has entered — the world championship giant slalom in Beaver Creek, another giant slalom in Maribor and the first super-combined of her career on the same piste on Sunday.

Maze, the 2013 World Cup winner, finished 0.16 seconds behind the big globe holder and the season finale promises to be a nail-biting one between the best two skiers of the winter, who both won two gold medals at the worlds.

“Competition is my motivation. I know that Anna is saying I’m still the favorite because I race in more events but who knows, maybe she will do slaloms too?,” the Slovenian said.

By contrast, Lindsey Vonn, who staged a sensational comeback by beating the record of 62 World Cup victories following a one-year injury break, looks out of contention as the season draws to a close.

The American still managed a good third place, 0.28 seconds behind Fenninger and will probably now focus on securing another crystal globe in her favorite event, the downhill.

“To me, Anna is the favorite. Her end of the season confidence is impressive and she found the right pace. Right now she’s unbeatable. It’s going to be a tense finale but she’s going to do it,” Vonn said.

The American had been critical of the race conditions in Bansko at the weekend but thanked the organizers for the work done on the course for Monday’s race.

“ I made a few mistakes but the course was really well prepared compared to yesterday. Thanks for that,” she said.

The women’s World Cup finishes on March 22 after a weekend of speed events in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, technical disciplines in Are and the World Cup finals in Meribel.

Writing by Francois Thomazeau, editing by Ed Osmond

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