Worley’s whirl on Planai spins giant slalom gold at worlds

The giant slalom Thursday at the World Championships in Schladming, Austria, featured a record 139 starters from 55 nations, including China, Uzbekistan, India, Iran, Libya, Taiwan and Armenia. Several skiers finished more than 30 seconds off the lead, which belonged to Frenchwoman Tessa Worley. She skied to gold to win in a combined time of 2 minutes, 8.06 seconds to lead the field by more than a second. Enlarge photo

Alesandro Trovati/Associated Press

The giant slalom Thursday at the World Championships in Schladming, Austria, featured a record 139 starters from 55 nations, including China, Uzbekistan, India, Iran, Libya, Taiwan and Armenia. Several skiers finished more than 30 seconds off the lead, which belonged to Frenchwoman Tessa Worley. She skied to gold to win in a combined time of 2 minutes, 8.06 seconds to lead the field by more than a second.

SCHLADMING, Austria Tessa Worley mastered a difficult giant slalom course twice, earning France its second gold medal and fourth overall at the World Championships on Thursday.

Worley, a bronze medalist two years ago, posted the fastest time in both runs on the Planai course also being used by the men that features an icy and steep finish.

Worley finished in a combined time of 2 minutes, 8.06 seconds to lead the field by more than a second.

Defending champion Tina Maze of Slovenia, who already has won this seasons World Cup GS title, finished 1.12 back in second for her third medal of the worlds after winning the super-G and placing second in the super-combined.

Anna Fenninger of Austria was third, 1.18 behind to earn the home nation its fourth medal.

A dream has come true, said Worley, who won seven races on the World Cup all in GS. I am very relieved. Winning in Schladming is great. This is not just a race; this is the World Championships.

Worley said the rock-hard course, including an unusual steep part for a womens GS, favored her.

I like difficult hills, Worley said. I knew before the start I could be really fast on this hill. I just had to ski freely and avoid mistakes.

Worleys victory followed gold for Marion Rolland in downhill, silver for Gauthier de Tessieres in super-G and bronze for David Poisson in downhill.

I am very proud of them all, Worley said. We have a great atmosphere in our team, and now I am a part of the party.

France won its sixth gold medal in womens GS at the worlds and matched the record held by Switzerland.

After winning four races this season, Maze started as a clear favorite but already was over a second behind Worley after a disappointing opening run.

Maze had to adjust her line shortly after the start and never looked comfortable as she struggled for rhythm. The Slovenian bounced back by putting in an attacking second run with an impressive finish.

This medal is nicer than all others, Maze said. I had a bad feeling after the first run. Everything went wrong, and I was very down. It was my worst run all season. I tried to stay positive, and then my second run was really great.

In her first appearance at a major championship, American teen Mikaela Shiffrin finished 2.30 behind in sixth for her career-best GS result.

Fellow American and former Olympic champion Julia Mancuso had two below-par runs and finished 4.74 off the lead in 22nd.

The GS featured a record 139 starters from 55 nations, including China, Uzbekistan, India, Iran, Libya, Taiwan and Armenia. Several skiers finished more than 30 seconds off the lead.

A dream has come true, said Worley, who won seven races on the World Cup  all in GS. I am very relieved. Winning in Schladming is great. This is not just a race, this is the World Championships. Enlarge photo

Kerstin Joensson/Associated Press

A dream has come true, said Worley, who won seven races on the World Cup all in GS. I am very relieved. Winning in Schladming is great. This is not just a race, this is the World Championships.