Posted: Wed December 19, 2012 6:10PM; Updated: Wed December 19, 2012 6:10PM

Rebensburg wins World Cup giant slalom; Swiss duo ski cross

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Viktoria Rebensburg was all smiles as her performance continued to improve.
Viktoria Rebensburg was all smiles as her performance continued to improve.
Alain Grosclaude/Agence Zoom/Getty Images

ARE, Sweden (AP) Viktoria Rebensburg won the women's giant slalom World Cup race Wednesday, breaking Slovenian Tina Maze's winning streak.

Under floodlights, the German two-time defending champion in the giant slalom clocked the best opening run and then managed to hold on in the second to win in a total time of 2 minutes, 28.94 seconds.

Austrian Anna Fenninger was second, 0.62 behind.

"I have been in good shape the last couple of weeks, even though Courchevel where I finished 15th (last week) wasn't that good," Rebensburg said of her improving form. "Today I tried to push and ski as good as possible. I knew I've been going in the right direction."

Maze, who arrived in the Swedish resort with four consecutive giant slalom wins this season, was third, 0.91 behind the winner.

After taking a convincing lead in the first run, Rebensburg recovered from a severe mistake in the second to hold on for the win.

"I just tried to fight back in the course, I thought the speed wasn't gone and I knew I was one second ahead. I kept pushing," she said.

It was the ninth World Cup victory for Rebensburg, and her eighth in giant slalom. She finished on the podium in GS races at St. Moritz and Aspen.

Despite having her winning streak ended, Maze still added to her overall World Cup lead. She moved to 859 points, 351 ahead of German Maria Hoefl-Riesch.

"The first run was not what I wanted. I was quite disappointed with that one. It was hard to find the speed," Maze said. "It's hard to always make a perfect run.

"Still, I'm happy with my performance today. I hope to do a good slalom (Thursday). (Thursday) is another 100 points."

Maze attributed her form this season to a gradual improvement in her skiing.

"It's year by year that I've been doing better," she said. "Last year, I was second (overall) ... (But) last season was the hardest ever for me. I was always there but never on top (of a race). I think I was one-hundredth behind once."

Overall champion Lindsey Vonn was absent from the event, having opted for a midseason break to fully recover from an intestinal illness. In March, the American clinched her fourth overall title by winning the giant slalom race here.

Swiss duo Smith, Niederer win ski cross races

VAL THORENS, France (AP) Fanny Smith of Switzerland extended her perfect start to the season with a third straight win in World Cup ski cross, and countryman Armin Niederer won the men's event.

After winning at Nakiska and Telluride, the 20-year-old Smith beat Marte Hoeie Gjefsen of Norway and Austria's Andrea Limbacher. Frenchwoman Ophelie David, who was second to Smith in races at Nakiska and Telluride, was eliminated in the quarterfinals. Smith leads the overall standings with 60 points, ahead of David's 36.

Niederer beat Brady Leman of Canada and Joe Swensson of the United States to stay atop the men's standings.

The 25-year-old Niederer, who won in Nakiska, leads the overall standings with 52 points, while Leman has 40.

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