- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 14, 2009

ARE, SWEDEN (AP) - Tanja Poutiainen of Finland clinched the World Cup giant slalom title on Saturday by finishing second to Tina Maze of Slovenia in the final GS race this season.

Overall champion Lindsey Vonn of the United States fell and missed a gate at the top of the course and didn’t qualify for the second run.

Maze led after the opening run and won in 2 minutes, 26.41 seconds for her eighth career World Cup win and her seventh in the GS.

Poutiainen was 1.12 behind and Manuela Moelgg of Italy was third, 1.39 back.

“To be able to ski one of my best runs of the season in the finals and get the crystal (globe) is just amazing,” Poutiainen said. “I won it four years ago and then I had four seasons which were really good actually, but still I didn’t get the crystal. That’s always my big goal.”

The Finn topped the final GS standings with 508 points. Kathrin Zettel of Austria finished eighth on Saturday and was seven points behind in second place in the overall standings. Maze moved to third with 368.

“This was very exciting,” Poutiainen said. “I’ve been nervous all day long. But this was good. I wanted this one. I skied 100 percent, already in the first run. It was a good run. I was even more nervous before the second run.”

Poutiainen won only one race this season, but finished in the points in all eight races.

“I’ve been consistent,” she said. “It’s hard to keep the same level.”

Zettel led Poutiainen by 41 points before the race.

“She must also have been nervous,” Poutiainen said. “I don’t know where she ended up today. But it’s difficult to lead the standings and know that you don’t have to win, but you have to be up there. She made it tough for me.”

Vonn ended up eighth in the GS standings. This was the second time she failed to finish in the points in eight GS races this season.

Vonn topped the final overall standings with 1,788 points. Maria Riesch of Germany finished second with 1,424 and Zettel third with 1,059.

Vonn also picked up crystal globes in the downhill and the super-G this season.

(This version CORRECTS points totals in next to last graf.)

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