By Manuele Lang
ARE, Sweden (Reuters) - Slovenia's Olympic champion Tina Maze fought off jetlag on Friday to win a World Cup giant slalom and end a six-race streak of victories by the Austrian women's team.
The most versatile skier on the circuit clinched her third victory of the season, all in different disciplines, with a combined time of two minutes and 23.84 seconds.
It was the 2013 overall World Cup winner's 26th career win.
Winner of a slalom in Levi last month and a downhill in Lake Louise last week, Maze said she was still tired after flying in from Canada.
"I’m very surprised to ski such a run...yesterday I was still like walking around in my sleep," said the only skier taking part in all the World Cup races. The Slovenian, who won her overall title two seasons ago with a record 2,414 points, was only seventh after the morning run but still managed to beat local favorite Sara Hector by 0.20 seconds despite a big mistake in the second leg.
Austria’s Eva-Marie Brem, surprise winner of the Aspen giant slalom two weeks ago, was a solid third and 0.27 adrift.
Maze now has a 177 point lead over World Cup holder Anna Fenninger of Austria who could only manage sixth place in Are, 0.37 behind the Slovenian.
Fenninger, who won her fifth successive giant slalom in the season opener in Soelden, has been struggling a little bit since then.
"I know that I can’t win every single race but I’m a little bitter because I’m not that far off," she said. The men continue Friday's Are program with a floodlit giant slalom in the evening.
(Editing by Alan Baldwin)