Thousands of Austrian ski racing fans who made the hour drive from Vienna to Semmering for today’s (Dec. 29) women’s World Cup night slalom got what they came for – an exciting race and an Austrian victor. Mariles Schild collected her third win of the season as fans produced a defining amount of encouragement .
Schild, in the red slalom leader’s bib, was just the second racer out of the start house and set the tone with a first-run time that was 1.20 seconds faster than any other. Her only real competition in the second run came from a racer that was both surprising and not surprising at all. Overall World Cup leader, German Maria Riesch made a huge mistake at the bottom of her first run that caused her to slip to the 17th position at half time. An attacking, risky second run from the six-foot-tall, two-time Olympic champion took her to the leaders circle through the next 15 racers until Schild appeared in the start and the boisterous crowed of 14,000 rang bells, lit flares and shouted for all it was worth.
Schild, the last racer down the course, edged Riesch by 0.32 seconds of combined time for her second consecutive World Cup slalom win (she also won last week in Courchevel, France) and her third of the season after opening the slalom tour with a win in Levi.
“It’s my third victory now here, this is an amazing feeling,” said Schild, who won World Cup GS and slalom races here in 2004. “I wanted to win this race, I knew that I had a lot of advantage and I had some really hard problems in the upper part so I just wanted to ski down. It’s very special, it’s a great audience.”
German Christina Geiger grabbed the last podium spot, 0.52 seconds back with a combined time of 1:42.38. It was the 20-year-old, Junior World Championships gold medalist’s best career finish, her previous high came in 2009 with eighth-place finishes in both Aspen and Lienz. Geiger also performed some second-run heroics putting down the third-fastest second run to jump from seventh in the first run.
Riesch’s second run was fastest second run by almost a full second (0.97) and was enough to earn her 49th career World Cup podium and a 121-point advantage on American Lindsey Vonn in the overall standings. She also finished second in yesterday’s GS.
“It was great days for me, being on the podium twice in Semmering makes me really happy,” Riesch told Fisalpine.com. “It’s important when you want to go for the overall podium that you’re consistent. Sometimes some mistakes are happening like the first run in the slalom, but still, with this end result, I’m really, really happy.”
Just missing the podium was World Cup veteran Tanja Poutianen in fourth place, 0.63 seconds off the winning pace.
It was a tough day for the American team. After Vonn fell at the top of the first run and Julia Mancuso, Resi Stiegler and Hailey Duke didn’t qualify for a second run, it was all on Sarah Schleper who charged to ninth-place in the first run. The second run was going great for the Vail, Colo. native, who was 0.27 seconds in the lead at the second-to-last split when she skied off course. She stuck with it, hiking for several seconds up to the missed gate and finished 28th, 24.18 seconds behind the winner.
“It’s very, very disappointing because [Schleper] would have been on the podium easily today,” said U.S. women’s head coach Alex Hoedlmoser. “She was here to race and be on the podium and not just top 30 and that is how she skied – fantastic. She shouldn’t be disappointed because she knows she has the speed to be on the podium again.”
Canadians Erin Mielzynski and Eve Routhier notched scoring results in 20th and 23rd, respectively. The result marked Mielzynski’s career high in a World Cup race. Brittany Phelan, Narie-Michele Gagnon and Anna Goodman all failed to qualify for the second run.
The women’s and men’s World Cup tours will converge next week at a special parallel slalom race in downtown Munich, Germany Jan. 2.
By Hank McKee
Women’s World Cup slalom, Semmering, Austria, Dec. 29, 2010
1 Schild, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Riesch, Head/Lange/Head
3 Geiger, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
4 Poutiainen, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
5 Borssen, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
6 Noens, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
7 Kirchgasser, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
7 Zettel, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
9 Zuzulova, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
10 Zahrobska, Head/Head/Head
Women’s World Cup slalom, Semmering, Austria, Dec. 29, 2010. … It is the 14th race of the women’s 37 race 2010-2011 World Cup season, the 13th to be held. … It is the fourth of ten scheduled slaloms with three more scheduled by Jan. 16. … It is the 18th Cup race hosted by Semmering. … the 11th slalom.
Winning margin is .32 of a second. … top five skiers are within the same second. … It is the 27th career World Cup win for Marlies Schild. … Her 24th in slalom. … It is her third win at Semmering having swept the slalom and GS Dec. 29, 2004. … It is her third victory of the season all in slalom and second straight.
It is the 49th career World Cup podium result for Maria Riesch. … her 17th in slalom. … It is her third podium at Semmering, and second in two days having also placed second in the GS. … It is her seventh podium of the season all of them first or second place results coming in four different disciplines.
It is a career first World Cup podium for Christina Geiger among 11 Cup scoring results, all in slalom.
It is a career best Cup result for Erin Mielzynski and just her second, the first coming at Aspen in slalom last season. … It is the second career scoring result for Eve Routhier, her first coming at Aspen in slalom this season. … Sarah Schleper will not receive points for her 28th place finish as she was too far behind the winner’s time.
Riesch pads her lead of the World Cup overall standings to 738-617 over Lindsey Vonn (DNF 1st in race). … Tanja Poutiainen (4th in race) is third overall with 430pts. … Marie-Michele Gagnon (did not qualify for 2nd run) is the top Canadian overall in 21st place with 130pts. … Schild leads the slalom standings 300-250 over Poutiainen with Riesch third at 240. … Vonn is the top American in the slalom rankings in 13th with 72pts. … Gagnon leads the Canadians in 24th place with 31pts. … Austria leads the women’s Nations Cup 1960-1692 over Germany. … The U.S. is third with 1213pts. … Canada is 10th with 196pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||FIS Points|
|Disqualified 1st run|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not qualify 1st run|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|73||35089||SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena||1984||ARG|
|72||35079||SIMARI BIRKNER Maria Belen||1982||ARG|
|71||435210||GASIENICA DANIEL Agnieszka||1987||POL|