Maria Hoefl-RieschWith the pressure of defending her 2011 overall title officially taken off her shoulders by Lindsey Vonn yesterday, German Maria Hoefl-Riesch was able to ski untethered today (March 10) as she claimed her first slalom World Cup win of the season in Are, Sweden.

Hoefl-Riesch had not returned to the top step of the slalom podium all season, failing to finish in four slalom races, but today the six-foot-tall, slalom Olympic gold medalist came from a third-place standing in the first run to take the win by just one-hundredth of a second over first run leader, Slovakian Veronika Zuzulova.  It was Hoefl-Riesch’s third victory of the season.

“With one hundreth, you can’t say it’s better or worse. Sometimes you need some luck,” Hoefl-Riesch told the Associated Press. “I think I won this race in the middle. I risked a lot there and made up a lot on the time. Last season, everything was perfect. I was consistent from beginning to end and I had something like 16 or 18 podiums. This year, I went out so many times. It’s special to win a slalom this year, especially with Marlies Schild being almost unbeatable.”

Even with a mistake at the top of the second run course, Canada’s Marie-Michele Gagnon held on to finish third and grab the first World Cup podium of her career, 0.11 seconds behind the winner. She had never finished higher than fifth.

The Canadian women are enjoying a long awaited string of success in the last two weeks. Erin Mielzynski (DNF in the first run today) brought the Canadian women’s team its first win in four years last weekend in the Ofterschwang slalom.
 
Austrian Marlies Schild, who has already clinched this season’s slalom title, showed some fatigue in the second run after a wildly successful season (six slalom wins). She stood second after the first run but had trouble in the middle of the course and slid back to a sixth-place finish in the final women’s slalom of the regular season.

The well represented local crowd got plenty to cheer about as five Swedish women filled the top 15. Therese Borssen led the home team in fourth followed by Frida Hansdotter in sixth and Anna Swenn-Larsson in ninth.

Today’s results were significant far beyond the podium as racers towards the back of the pack fought to reach or stay in the top 25 in the season-long rankings and earn a ticket to race at the World Cup finals next week.

Three U.S. women will make their way to the finals slalom next week led by 16-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin who finished the regular season ranked 17th after tying for ninth place today, 0.39 seconds behind the leader. It was her fourth top-10 finish of the season.

“Sometimes it feels like, ‘man, it’s about time’ and I have to take a step back and realize that some of these girls have been the fastest skiers in the world for ten years, so I need to fight every single run. It’s hard but it’s also really exciting,” said Shiffrin. “I’m really excited about racing in Schladming. It feels good to be top 25 in the world, but honestly, I’ve been dreaming about winning World Cup races since I was five years old.”

Lindsey Vonn, who clinched this season’s overall title by winning yesterday’s giant slalom, stood 15th after the first run. She was enjoying a strong second run when she fell to her hip and skied off course just a few gates from the finish. She stands 19th in the slalom rankings.

Resi Stielger, who claimed her first World Cup podium with a second-place finish a slalom last weekend, grabbed the last starting spot in the 30-woman second run. She moved up eight spots to finish 22nd today and end the regular season ranked 23.

The women’s tour now moves to join the men at World Cup finals in Schadming, Austria March 14-18.

MORE TO COME

The SCOOP
by Hank McKee

Women’s World Cup slalom, Are, Sweden, March 10, 2012
Equipment

Skier, skis/boots/bindings

1 Hoefl-Riesch, Head/Lange/Head
2 Zuzulova, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
3 Gagnon, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
4 Borssen, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
5 Curtoni, Fischer/Lange/Fischer
6 Hansdotter, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
6 Schild, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
8 Maze, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
9 Swenn-Larsson, Head/Head/Head
9 Shiffrin, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic

Women’s World Cup slalom, Are, Sweden, March 10, 2012
. … It is the 33rd of 37 races remaining on the women’s World Cup schedule. … the ninth of ten scheduled slaloms. … the 84th Cup race held – at least in part – at Are. … the second of the season.

It is the 23rd career World Cup win for Maria Hoefl-Riesch. … her eighth in slalom. … She is the second ranked German skier on the all-time World Cup win list behind Katja Seizinger (36). …It is her third win of the season in three different discplines having also won a combined at St Moritz Jan 29 and the downhill at Sochi Feb. 18.

It is the 12th career World Cup podium result for Veronika Zuzulova. … all in slalom. … She has never won a World Cup race. … It is her second podium result of the season, the other coming Jan. 22 at Kranjska Gora.

It is the first career World Cup podium result for Marie-Michele Gagnon. … She is the third Canadian this season to collect a first podium (Ben Thomsen and Erin Mielzynski are the others). … She is the eighth Canadian to claim a Cup slalom podium.

North Americans: It is the sixth career scoring result for Mikaela Shiffrin and her fourth top 10. … all from this season…. It is the sixth score of the season for Resi Stiegler, four of them coming in March.

Standings: Lindsey Vonn (DNF 2nd) leads the overall standings 1808-1286 over Tina Maze (eighth in race) with four races remaining and cannot be beaten for the crown. … Hoefl-Riesch is third overall with 1175pts. … Julia Mancuso (did not race) is sixth overall with 855pts. … Gagnon is top Canadian in 19th with 333pts. … Marlies Schild (sixth in race) leads the slalom standings 700-393 over Maze with one race remaining and cannot be beaten for the title. … Michaela Kirchgasser (14th in race) is third with 352pts. … Gagnon is tenth with 208pts. … Shiffrin is the top American in 17th place with 147pts. … Austria leads the women’s Nations Cup standings 5185-3507 over the US. … Italy is third with 2740 and Canada 10th with 603pts.

Image by Gepa

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time FIS Points
 1  1  206001 HOEFL-RIESCH Maria  1984  GER   56.19  53.66  1:49.85  0.00
 2  3  705287 ZUZULOVA Veronika  1984  SVK   55.84  54.02  1:49.86  0.06
 3  13  105269 GAGNON Marie-Michele  1989  CAN   56.21  53.75  1:49.96  0.61
 4  9  505610 BORSSEN Therese  1984  SWE   56.42  53.68  1:50.10  1.39
 5  20  296509 CURTONI Irene  1985  ITA   56.46  53.67  1:50.13  1.55
 6  10  505679 HANSDOTTER Frida  1985  SWE   57.05  53.09  1:50.14  1.61
 6  6  55590 SCHILD Marlies  1981  AUT   56.15  53.99  1:50.14  1.61
 8  7  565243 MAZE Tina  1983  SLO   56.29  53.88  1:50.17  1.78
 9  27  506146 SWENN-LARSSON Anna  1991  SWE   57.25  52.99  1:50.24  2.17
 9  18  6535237 SHIFFRIN Mikaela  1995  USA   56.21  54.03  1:50.24  2.17
 11  51  506350 EKLUND Nathalie  1992  SWE   57.39  52.94  1:50.33  2.67
 12  24  506341 WIKSTROEM Emelie  1992  SWE   57.40  53.05  1:50.45  3.33
 13  12  296259 MOELGG Manuela  1983  ITA   57.13  53.63  1:50.76  5.05
 14  4  55759 KIRCHGASSER Michaela  1985  AUT   57.53  53.29  1:50.82  5.39
 15  15  206279 GEIGER Christina  1990  GER   57.04  53.79  1:50.83  5.44
 16  2  55838 ZETTEL Kathrin  1986  AUT   56.91  54.05  1:50.96  6.16
 17  22  196726 BARTHET Anne-Sophie  1988  FRA   57.14  54.21  1:51.35  8.33
 17  11  206355 DUERR Lena  1991  GER   57.68  53.67  1:51.35  8.33
 17  5  185140 POUTIAINEN Tanja  1980  FIN   56.45  54.90  1:51.35  8.33
 20  17  196928 WORLEY Tessa  1989  FRA   57.50  54.24  1:51.74  10.50
 21  35  55807 DAUM Alexandra  1986  AUT   57.89  53.94  1:51.83  10.99
 22  23  537772 STIEGLER Resi  1985  USA   58.33  53.72  1:52.05  12.22
 23  28  206035 CHMELAR Fanny  1985  GER   57.70  54.37  1:52.07  12.33
 24  26  56032 SCHILD Bernadette  1990  AUT   57.77  54.50  1:52.27  13.44
 25  39  196803 MOUGEL Laurie  1988  FRA   57.87  54.55  1:52.42  14.27
 26  31  516280 HOLDENER Wendy  1993  SUI   58.15  54.28  1:52.43  14.33
 27  19  155415 ZAHROBSKA Sarka  1985  CZE   57.49  55.14  1:52.63  15.44
 28  42  206174 STABER Veronika  1987  GER   58.31  54.86  1:53.17  18.44
 29  32  205168 DUERR Katharina  1989  GER   57.98  55.38  1:53.36  19.49
Did not qualify for 2nd run
   59  35089 SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena  1984  ARG         
   57  155194 KURFUERSTOVA Eva  1977  CZE         
   55  506399 HECTOR Sara  1992  SWE         
   54  505483 PAERSON Anja  1981  SWE         
   53  297171 FANCHINI Sabrina  1988  ITA         
   50  297910 CURTONI Elena  1991  ITA         
   49  505908 SMEDH Veronica  1988  SWE         
   48  425880 SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth  1991  NOR         
   47  535585 STAPLES Kiley  1989  USA         
   46  196179 BERTRAND Marion  1984  FRA         
   45  206290 HUEBNER Monica  1990  GER         
   43  196793 MARMOTTAN Anemone  1988  FRA         
   41  425771 LOESETH Nina  1989  NOR         
   37  305944 KIYOSAWA Emiko  1983  JPN         
   36  196725 BARIOZ Taina  1988  FRA         
   34  196016 DAUTHERIVES Claire  1982  FRA         
   33  56059 DEPAULI Jessica  1991  AUT         
   30  106633 GOODMAN Anna  1986  CAN         
   29  195972 AUBERT Sandrine  1982  FRA         
   25  55977 THALMANN Carmen  1989  AUT         
Did not finish 2nd run
   16  537544 VONN Lindsey  1984  USA         
Did not finish 1st run
   58  35079 SIMARI BIRKNER Maria Belen  1982  ARG         
   56  565331 LAVTAR Katarina  1988  SLO         
   52  537792 DUKE Hailey  1985  USA         
   44  705363 LUKACOVA Barbora  1990  SVK         
   40  55898 BREM Eva-Maria  1988  AUT         
   38  296354 COSTAZZA Chiara  1984  ITA         
   21  55690 HOSP Nicole  1983  AUT         
   14  106961 MIELZYNSKI Erin  1990  CAN         
   8  196806 NOENS Nastasia  1988  FRA         

Article Tags: Alpine, Top Story

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