Maribor, Slovenia – Second after the opening leg, Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg didn’t put in a perfect second run but managed to carry enough speed onto the final pitch to pull out the win.
The 26-year-old clocked an aggregate time of 2:29.82 to edge local favourite Slovenia’s Ana Drev, who finished 0.32 seconds off the pace. Tina Weirather had another impressive GS showing this season to round out the podium in third, 0.34 seconds behind
Viktoria Rebensburg, who won the giant slalom in Flachau, her first win in this event in three years, confirmed she has found her GS groove again after a slow start to the season, even though her second run was not mistake-free.
“My run was kind of mistakes from top to bottom,” she said. “I thought ‘no way’, I won’t believe it that I come down to the finish, but yeah, it seems that it was kind of good in the end and I had good speed.
The snow was described as sugary by the athletes, making the track more and more bumpy as the race went on.
“For sure, it was way more rough,” Rebensburg said about the conditions. “But I think it was better on the second run, the slope, as compared to the first run because there was kind of breaking every time, or I mean it started pretty early so I think it was better because the snow was more wet and the salt was more combined to the snow. Yeah, it was better.
“I feel very comfortable now again in GS,” she continued. “I feel I have my right set up and for sure I can make mistakes, but even with mistakes, I’m fast and that’s pretty important for me to know because it used to be at races before, I’d make a mistake, but I was not really fast on the other hand. So now I think I have a good ground speed and everything’s working pretty good together.”
Like in Flachau, Ana Drev raced to the runner-up spot. She had to make up time and managed to climb from 6th after the first run.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Drev said. “I never thought I could make this here. Because I didn’t like the course so much. It’s a little bit flat, so I don’t like this so much, but I had a good result in Flachau. I was confident and I tried to attack from the start to the bottom as I can. I am so happy.”
With a third podium finish, Tina Weirather has already had her best season in giant slalom, but that didn’t come without taking risks.
“It was a really tough race,” Weirather said. “I was really concerned between the first and the second run because the bib number 25, 26 looked terrible in the first run and I didn’t know how to do it. It was really sketchy. Of course, it’s kind of scary when you have so many injuries as I had. Yeah, I was just thinking how to do it, and how to do it fast. Then, it just all worked out. I think I just tried to ski with instincts not with thinking too much, and it worked.”
The win saw Rebensburg move up to second in the GS standings with 410 points, 32 behind Austrian Eva-Maria Brem, who finished fourth on the day, 0.41 seconds out.
The Olympic champion also climbed to third in the overall standings (680), while Lindsey Vonn (900) and Lara Gut (855) didn’t score any points, as both skied out in the second run.