Austrian skier Marlies Schild flew down the Courchevel course to win her second World Cup slalom of the season yesterday, while overall points leader Lindsey Vonn and rival Maria Riesch crashed out in their first runs.
Schild started the second run in second place behind Finland’s Tanja Poutiainen, but a faultless run at breathtaking speed saw her finish in a combined time of 1 minute, 34.95 seconds, to put her 0.78 seconds ahead of Poutiainen.
It was the two-time Olympic slalom medalist’s 25th World Cup win.
Schild won the slalom at Levi, Finland, last month.
Slovenia’s Tine Maze was third, but was a huge 1.98 seconds behind Schild.
The highly technical Stade Emile Allais course accounted for more than 20 skiers failing to finish the first run, but Schild made it look very easy despite stiff competition.
Maze finished the first run in fourth place, but took the race lead with an excellent second run. Schild then watched as French slalom champion Nastasia Noens dropped out of contention before setting off at breakneck pace.
With her knees locked still -together and her chest perfectly upright, Schild chopped 1.26 seconds off Maze on the first time split and a massive 2.10 on the next.
That put all the pressure on Poutiainen who, seemingly unwilling to take risks in an improbable bid to beat Schild’s time, did what she had to do to assure second place.
By the afternoon, racers seemed to have got the hang of the course after 23 of 69 failed to finish first time around.
Vonn hooked the tip of her ski round a gate having safely negotiated the trickier top section, butsetback did not damage her position in the overall standings.