Maria Riesch won yesterday’s World Cup super-G race by 0.01 seconds from archrival Lindsey Vonn in a race which could have enormous consequences in the fight for the overall World Cup title.
The German, who was beaten by Vonn in Saturday’s downhill, struck back to win in 1 minute, 13.24 seconds and add a second victory to her weekend campaign in Sweden after Friday’s super-combined.
“It’s a lucky win, but it’s good to have luck on your side from time to time. It has not always been the case,” Riesch said.
It was the German’s sixth World Cup victory this season, her 20th in all and the first in a Super-G for three years.
It lifted her overall total to 1,516 points. Vonn has 1,320 points with nine races left, only four of which are speed events.
“I have great hopes now [for the World Cup], especially after this weekend in which I managed to beat Lindsey twice. I think I turned the odds on my side and if I cannot win more points, the goal is now not to lose any,” she said.
American Vonn was clearly disappointed, but tried to look on the bright side.
“I skied a good run, but it hurts to lose by a hundredth of a second. I just want to look straight to the next race and leave this behind me,” Vonn said.
After the concussion that hampered her world championships ambitions in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, the Are weekend showed that the three-time World Cup winner was back and ready to fight.
“My World Cup chances are in my own hands. As usual, I’m going to fight to the limit and as we saw today, everything is possible and victories can turn one way or the other,” Vonn said.
Third place went to Vonn’s compatriot Julia Mancuso, who finished 0.79 seconds behind Riesch.
Local favorite Anja Paerson was injured and taken away on a stretcher. The Swede stopped halfway down the Olympia course on which she had won three world titles four years ago and lay down on the side holding her knee.
The most successful active skier, with 41 World Cup wins, was taken to hospital and a team spokesman said the first reports were optimistic.
Switzerland’s Nadja Kamer, sent tumbling down the safety nets in Saturday’s downhill, was recovering from a slight concussion and a broken finger, Swiss head coach Mauro Pini said.
The battle between Reisch and Vonn resumes next weekend in the Italian resort of Tarvisio.
REUTERS, BANSKO, BULGARIA
Austria’s Mario Matt savored victory for the first time in two years after winning a World Cup slalom in Bansko yesterday.
The 2001 and 2007 world champion, who narrowly missed out on the podium at the world championships a week ago, was fastest in the morning run and did not falter in the afternoon to win in a combined time of 1 minute, 50.35 seconds.
It was Matt’s 13th World Cup win and the 31-year-old’s 12th in a slalom.
Teammate Reinfried Herbst completed a great day for Austria by taking second place, 0.04 seconds behind.
World champion Jean-Baptiste Grange of France secured the last place on the podium, 0.48 seconds adrift, to trail slalom World Cup leader Ivica Kostelic by only 36 points in the discipline’s standings.
Kostelic, the runaway overall World Cup leader, straddled a gate in the first leg and failed to finish.