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Maze pips giant slalom favorites

Maze's previous World Cup win was in Soelden in 2003

ST MORITZ, Switzerland -- Slovenia's Tina Maze upset the favorites by winning a World Cup giant slalom, in St Moritz, while reigning champion Anja Paerson regained the lead in the overall standings with a second-place finish.

Maze, second after the opening round behind Paerson, delivered a smooth, clean second run down the sun-soaked Engiadina course.

She finished with a two-leg combined time of 2 minutes, 26.99 seconds.

Maze had one previous World Cup victory, a giant slalom win in Soelden in 2003. Her best result of the season had been third in a super-G in Altenmark.

"I've had a tough time since my first win two years ago but I feel as if I'm back on track now," Maze said.

"I made a couple of mistakes on the first run but was able to get it out of my head and went for it on the second run."

Paerson said:"Of course, I'm happy to be on top of the World Cup standings but I'm annoyed with myself for not taking advantage of my first run lead.

"But the competition is fierce now. Last year I would have won with that first run lead but now the other girls are really attacking me."

Paerson finished second with an aggregate time of 2:27.11, with Marie Jose Rienda Contreras of Spain third in 2:27.73.

Italy's Karen Putzer was fourth, .93 off the pace, while Tanja Poutiainen finished a disappointing fifth and lost the overall World Cup lead to Paerson.

Poutiainen dropped from fourth after the opening leg and crossed the line 1.47 seconds behind Maze.

The Finn had already lost ground on Paerson in Tuesday's super-G, which she missed because of lower back pain. Paerson finished 13th in the super-G for 20 points.

Paerson, who captured the overall title last season in addition to the giant slalom and slalom globes, overtook the Finn in the overall standings with 493 points. Poutiainen slipped to second on 486.

Crashed out

Former champion Janica Kostelic was lying third after the first leg on the Engiadina course but crashed out of the second run after setting the fastest split time. The Croatian, who has been suffering from gastric flu, escaped serious injury.

American slalom specialist Kristina Koznick was suffering from a severe tongue bite and troubled vision following a crash.

Koznick skidded off course and collided with a gate, ending up in a heap on the side of the piste with blood gushing out of her mouth.

Though she was able to leave the course on her own, medics came to fetch her part way with a snowmobile.

The 29-year-old veteran had a two centimeter laceration on her tongue, which was swollen, making speech difficult. Koznick also complained of pain in her badly bruised jaw.

The American also had sore ribs on the left side, but race medics and the U.S. team doctor said at this point she did not appear to have any broken bones or damaged ligaments.

Though she seemed in high spirits and was joking around in the finish area following the accident, Koznick later complained of troubled vision and seemed slightly disoriented, indicating a possible head injury.

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