SEMMERING, Austria (AP) — Tessa Worley of France won a third straight women’s World Cup giant slalom on Tuesday, while second-place Maria Riesch overtook Lindsey Vonn at the top of the overall standings.
Worley finished her two runs on the Panorama course in a combined time of 2 minutes, 9.66 seconds to beat Riesch by 0.62 seconds. World champion Kathrin Hoelzl was third.
Julia Mancuso of the United States was fifth. Vonn, the three-time overall World Cup champion, finished seventh.
“I did a very good first run, but still didn’t expect to win it,” said Worley, who led Riesch by 0.49 after the opening run. “It’s pretty difficult up there when you have to wait being the last starter. I just forced myself to think it was not a second run but just a whole new race I had to win.”
Worley is two consecutive wins away from the record held by Anja Paerson, who won five GS races in a row in 2004.
“I felt a bit of pressure, but I managed to shake it off by concentrating on the technical things of my skiing,” Worley said.
Riesch just missed out on her first career GS victory.
“More than 0.6 is a lot of difference, and you should not be angry when finishing second,” Riesch said.
Riesch leads Vonn by 41 points in the overall standings.
“It’s even better to be there at the end of the season as that’s the only time it really matters,” Riesch said. “I won’t spill my energy on the standings in this stage of the season.”
Neither will Vonn. The American said she would love to start 2011 as the leader, but she doesn’t expect to overtake Riesch on Wednesday in the slalom event.
“I don’t see that happening. In slalom you never know, but I am not skiing as well in slalom as in GS right now,” Vonn said. “It doesn’t matter. After (a slalom Jan. 4 in) Zagreb, there are a lot of downhill races. That’s where I’ll make my points.”
Vonn was unhappy with her second run, in which she seemed to hold back.
“I was in a good position to maybe get on the podium today,” said Vonn, who was sixth after the first run. “I just got too round in the middle section, I just gave the course too much respect.”
Giant slalom is the only discipline lacking on Vonn’s victory list, though Vonn is convinced it won’t take long for that to change.
“I am consistently skiing in the top-10 (of the GS) now and I haven’t done that for the rest of my career,” she said. “My confidence is there and I know what to do know. It’s a matter of skiing an aggressive run from top to bottom, but not overskiing and not making mistakes.”
Mancuso had the second-fastest time in the final run to move from 18th to fifth, 1.17 seconds behind Worley. Mancuso said she was disappointed after her first run, where she lost time in the middle of the course.
“I knew I had to do better,” Mancuso said. “I have been skiing really fast in training, so it was great to do that again in the second run.”
Mancuso had an almost flawless final run and said “it’s just about skiing smart. I’ve learned that going too straight doesn’t work. I had to take it a little relaxed, but also charging the whole way down.”
Tina Maze of Slovenia was second after the opening run but dropped to sixth, while Kathrin Zettel of Austria, who won the last two races on this course in 2006 and ’08, was eighth.
Olympic champion Viktoria Rebensburg, who was 28th after a massive mistake in her opening run, posted the fastest second leg and finished ninth.
Worley also won giant slaloms this season in Aspen, Colo., and St. Moritz, Switzerland.