Women's GS opens 2nd phase of Olympic Alpine races

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 17, 2014 at 6:29 pm •  Published: February 17, 2014

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — Time for a change of pace on the Olympic Alpine courses, starting with the women's giant slalom on Tuesday.

After six events with the emphasis mostly on pure speed and bright sunshine, the technical gate-racing specialists take center stage this week with fog and rain forecast.

So do smaller nations with little or no Alpine tradition whose top skiers are capable of qualifying for the safer, slower events.

Look out for racer No. 87 on Tuesday — Vanessa Vanakorn of Thailand, better known as classical-pop violinist Vanessa-Mae.

SWEDISH SECRET: Jessica Lindell-Vikarby and Maria Pietilae-Holmner stand 1-2 in the World Cup giant slalom standings but are not getting too much attention.

"Nope," Pietilae-Holmner said. "No one is used to having two Swedish girls up there. So maybe that's why. But it's really cool to have Nos. 1 and 2 in the same team."

With the course flatter than most GS races, Lindell-Vikarby is picking Austria's Anna Fenninger, the super-G gold medalist, as the favorite.

"She's been (racing) and she's good in the flats and on the terrain," Lindell-Vikarby said.

DOUBLE DUTY: The race could stretch into a second day, as it did at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Fog which shrouded the course Monday is forecast to persist, with rain and snow expected to start falling in the morning.

With 90 racers — 41 more than Saturday's super-G — the rules require that everybody starts on the same day.

The second run is due from 1 p.m. though it can be held over to a later day.

Four years ago, fog blanketed the Whistler Mountain course at lunchtime and racing resumed the following morning.

"We'll handle it the same way we handled it in (Vancouver)," race referee Atle Skaardal told the Associated Press on Monday.

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