Austrian Marlies Schild owns the slalom.
The 30-year-old, reigning slalom world champion grabbed her third consecutive World Cup slalom victory today (Dec. 20) under the lights on home snow in Flachau, Austria. The win marks Schild’s 30th career Cup slalom victory.
Schild took a 0.29-second lead from the first run, then kept the foot on the gas in the second run to win with a 0.46-second advantage (the smallest of her three wins this season) ahead of German Maria Hoefl-Riesch in second place. It was defending overall champion Hoefl-Riesch’s best result so far this season. Slovenian Tina Maze earned her first podium of the season in third, 0.82 seconds off the leading pace.
“I don’t know how I’ve had so many wins in a row,” said Schild, whose fiance and fellow Austrian Ski Team teammate Benni Raich was in attendance ahead of a men’s slalom here tomorrow. “I hope Benni does good tomorrow, then it’s perfect.”
Today’s race took the place of what was originally scheduled to be the slalom season opener in Levi, Finland but was canceled due to lack of snow. Austrian ski racing fans took advantage of the pleasant surprise, lining the sides of the course and packing the bottom of the hill as they rang sirens and honked horns with delight of their home win.
“I’m from Salzburg so this is a special race for me and I was perhaps a little more tense than usual, especially after winning here two years ago and losing last year,” Schild told Eurosport.com. “It’s a great relief and a great joy to win in Austria, especially in front of such a crowd.”
Schild, a winner in Aspen in late November and Courchevel, France two days ago, led a strong group of seven Austrian women into the second run. Kathrin Zettel and Michaela Kirchgasser also hit the top ten in fourth and sixth, respectively.
Lindsey Vonn was the only American woman to reach the 30-woman second run and earn World Cup points. Vonn, who stood tenth after the first run, looked more comfortable during the second run, taking an aggressive line down the 66-gate course to finish eighth and record her first slalom top-ten finish in a year.
“I didn’t ski as aggressive as I wanted to on the first run, but it was a solid run without any big mistakes. I was happy to be in there for a second run,” said Vonn. “Slalom is easier now, I feel really comfortable. I felt like I was skiing really well in the first run from Courchevel before I went out. I know I can be there, it’s just a matter of skiing more aggressively.”
Other U.S. starters Resi Stiegler and Sarah Schleper failed to crack the top 30 for a chance at a second run. Neither Mikaela Shiffrin nor Hailey Duke finished the first run. Julia Mancuso did not race, as she is on a planned break back home in the states.
The Canadian Team had a great day, especially on the second run course set by their coach. Marie-Michele Gagnon, who looked ready for a top result on Sunday in Courchevel, France but skied off course, brought it all together today to finish ninth for her best result of the season and her third-best slalom result ever. Teammate Erin Mielzynski also grabbed a top-15 result in 14th.
The World Cup men will have their turn under the lights on the same course tomorrow.
Images by Gepa
by Hank McKee
Women’s World Cup Slalom, Flachau, Austria, Dec. 20, 2011
1 Schild, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Hoefl-Riesch, Head/Lange/Head
3 Maze, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
4 Zettel, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
5 Noens, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
6 Kirchgasser, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
7 Borssen, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
8 Vonn, Head/Head/Head
9 Gagnon, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
10 Moelgg, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
Women’s World Cup Slalom, Flachau, Austria, Dec. 20, 2011. … It is the ninth race of the women’s 40 race 2011-12 World Cup season. … It is the third of 10 scheduled slaloms. … It is a make up race from the first slalom originally set for Levi Nov. 12. … It is the 17th Cup race hosted by Flachau, the eighth slalom. … the third night slalom.
It is the 32nd career Cup win for Marlies Schild. … her 30th in slalom. … She is three behind Vreni Schneider for the all time lead in slalom victories. … It is her third win in three slaloms held this season. … the .46 of a second margin is her smallest of the season. … It is her second win at Flachau.
It is the 60th career Cup podium result for Maria Hoefl-Riesch. … her 21st in slalom. … It is her second podium of the season, the other coming at Aspen in slalom Nov. 27.
It is the 29th career Cup podium result for Tina Maze. … her sixth in slalom. … Her lone slalom win came at last season’s World Cup finals at Lenzerheide March 18.
Lindsey Vonn matches her 12th best Cup slalom result. … It is her best slalom finish in more than a year. … Marie-Michele Gagnon matches her fourth best career Cup scoring result. … It is her best of the season. … It is the second best career result for Erin Mielzynski. … She finished 13th twice previously.
Vonn maintains the lead of the World Cup overall standings 554-324 for Schild. … Viktoria Rebensburg (did not race) is third with 286. … Julia Mancuso (did not race) makes the top 10 in eighth with 201pts. … Gagnon is top Canadian overall in 30th with 64pts. … Schild leads the slalom standings 300-155 for Kathrin Zettel (fourth in race). … Hoefl-Riesch is third with 140pts. … Gagnon is the top North American in 12th with 53pts. … Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin (DNF 1st run) are tied to lead the US in 21st place with 32pts each. … Austria leads the women’s Nations Cup 1591-917 over the US. … Germany is third with 768pts. … Canada is tenth with 152pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||FIS Points|
|21||55||425880||SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth||1991||NOR||57.72||57.29||1:55.01||19.03|
|Disqualified 1st run|
|Did not qualify 1st run|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|70||405092||HERWERDEN VAN Michelle||1990||NED|