Alpine skiing: Worley destroys field for giant slalom gold

Tessa Worley produced two scintillating runs to cruise to a convincing victory in the women's giant slalom at the World Ski Championships on Thursday.

Worley, born to a French mother and Australian father and partly raised in New Zealand where her now-divorced parents opened a ski school, recorded the fastest times in both descents, posting an aggregate of 2min 08.06sec.

"It's just amazing," said Worley. "It's been hard today, very tough, but I focused on the race and my skiing. It's a dream come true. Relief, it's great!"

Worley said the sometime-tricky camber and steep, hard surface of the slope had been made for her skiing style.

"It suits me very well," she acknowledged. "I knew that and I wanted to push from the start and make no mistakes.

"Winning in Austria, here in Schladming, is amazing, the crowd is incredible. And it's not just any race. It's the world championships."

It was a fourth championship medal for France after podium efforts by unheralded team stalwarts Marion Rolland (downhill gold), Gauthier de Tessieres (super-G silver) and David Poisson (downhill bronze).

It was a first French victory in the giant slalom since Carole Merle in the 1993 worlds in the Japanese resort of Morioka and the first time two French female skiers had claimed gold since the 1974 worlds in St Moritz.

Slovenia's defending champion Tina Maze, who was fourth after the first run, claimed silver at 1.12sec, a third medal for the runaway overall World Cup leader after her super-G gold and super-combined silver.

Austrian Anna Fenninger took bronze a further 0.06sec adrift, leaving the host nation still desperately awaiting an individual gold.

Worley's triumph was based on the measured aggression she employed down the steep, icily treacherous conditions on the Plania course.

Crouched low and with teeth gritted, the 23-year-old, who won giant slalom bronze in the last worlds in 2011, produced two runs as close to perfect as they could possibly get to put the rest of the field in the shade.

Germany's Olympic champion Viktoria Rebensburg finished in joint 11th position, a massive 3.33sec off Worley's pace, while teammate Maria Hoefl-Riesch was at 3.02sec in ninth in her bid to win a fourth medal here after super-combined gold, and bronzes in downhill and the team event.

US teen sensation Mikaela Shiffrin finished sixth behind Austrian Kathrin Zettel and Swedish slalom specialist Frida Hansdotter, at 2.30sec.