CORTINA D'AMPEZZO, Italy, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Hiring a new coach earlier this month appeared to pay off for Slovenia's Tina Maze Saturday when she skied to victory in the women's downhill in Cortina, Italy.
Maze, who had two top-10 finishes this week under the guidance of Mauro Pini, covered the course in 1 minute, 37.79 seconds Saturday and finished 0.38 seconds ahead of Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden of Switzerland.
"Mauro brought peace in the team, it just became easier with him," said Maze, who won the World Cup women's overall points race last season. "We knew he was a great coach with a lot of experience. With him in the team I just have to focus on my skiing and not on other matters."
Pini was the coach of the Swiss ladies' Alpine squad until 2012 when he left to work as a consultant. Maze was sixth in the overall World Cup standings when Pini was hired on Jan. 8.
Tina Weirather of Lichtenstein took third place Saturday with a 1:38.17. Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany, the leader in the overall standings, placed fourth.
The United States had two finishers in the top 10 Saturday. Stacy Cook captured fifth place in 1:38.35 and Julia Mancuso came in seventh. "This is exactly the direction we need to be moving in right now," said U.S. women's coach Alex Hoedlmoser. "The Olympics are coming up quickly and this team is starting to believe in their abilities again."