Kirchgasser wins Kranjska Gora slalom, Schild’s streak ends
Marlies Schild’s five-slalom winning streak came to an end today (Jan. 22) in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia but the Austrian team was still able to celebrate a win, this time coming from first-time slalom winner Michaela Kirchgasser.
Kirchgasser was the fastest woman in both runs to capture her first World Cup victory in five years since taking a GS in Sierra Nevada, Spain in 2007. Today’s result marked only Kirchgasser’s second career World Cup slalom podium after taking her first three weeks ago with a third-place finish in Zagreb.
“It was pretty rough, I had to fight from the beginning but I never give up and it’s wonderful,” said Kirchgasser, who has landed in the top-10 of all of this season’s first five slalom races. “This season [my slalom] is pretty good, I love this victory.”
Two more veterans of the World Cup joined Kirchgasser on the podium as Finn Tanja Poutiainen earned her second podium of the season in second, 0.65 seconds behind. It was her 46th career Cup podium.
“I'm more than just happy. I wanted to win today, but Michaela was unbeatable, so I'm glad to be in 2nd place,” said Poutiainen. “Thanks to the spectators, it was wonderful competing in such an auditorium. Cheering can be heard up to the start.”
Slovakia’s Veronika Zuzulova completed the podium in third with her first podium of the season, 1.34 seconds off the winning pace. Zuzulova matched her result the last time the World Cup women stopped in Kranjska Gora in 2007.
Schild, winner of the first five slaloms of the season as well as the last women's slalom to be held here, proved she is not perfect after all missing a gate near the top of the first run course. “It’s a challenging course so you have to be happy when you do your best,” said a still smiling Schild, who joined 25 other woman on the first run DNF list. Defending overall champion, German Maria Hoefel-Riesch missed the same gate.
Local favorite, Slovenian Tina Maze (fourth after the first run) received a boisterous welcome in the finish area after being the first woman in 13 starters to top Austrian Kathrin Zettel’s leading second run time. The celebration was short lived, however, as each of the following three woman claimed the podium spots, pushing Maze to fourth on the day.
Lindsey Vonn led the American’s in both runs, standing eighth after the first run, and looked very strong at the top of the second run course but she lost time in the middle flats of the course to finish seventh. It was her best result in a World Cup slalom since November of 2010, she has not reached a slalom podium or win since 2009.
“I had an okay first run, it was a solid performance,” said Vonn. “I definitely lost a bit of time at the bottom - similar to yesterday. But I’m happy with my performance. I attacked from the start which is what I wanted to do.”
Vonn maintains a strong lead in the overall standings with a 282-point advantage on Maze in second. Schild stands third, 422 points behind Vonn.
American teammate Julia Mancuso, who skipped the last slalom in Zabreb, Croatia, stood 19th after the first run and held on to earn World Cup points in 22nd. It was her first slalom finish since last March and only her third finish in a World Cup slalom in three years.
Young American standout Mikaela Shiffrin missed her shot at the top 30-woman second run by 0.44 seconds in 32rd place after the first run. Hailey Duke also failed to qualify for the second run in the 44th position. Resi Steigler was one of the long list to not finish the first run.
Erin Mielzinsky was the only Canadian to finish the first run and went on to claim 18th place for her third-best World Cup finish ever.
By Hank McKee
Women's World Cup slalom, Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, Jan. 22, 2012
1 Kirchgasser, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Poutiainen, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
3 Zuzulova, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
4 Maze, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
5 Zettel, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
6 Hosp, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
7 Vonn, Head/Head/Head
8 Geiger, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
9 Noens, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
10 Curtoni, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
Women's World Cup Slalom, Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, Jan. 22, 2012. ... It is the 18th of 40 races on the women's 2012 World Cup schedule. ... the sixth of 10 scheduled slaloms. ... The race was originally scheduled at Maribor and moved due to a lack of snow. ... It is the 74th Cup race hosted at Kranjska Gora. ... the 38th slalom but sixth women's slalom. ... women had not raced at the site since 2007.
It is the second career World Cup win for Michaela Kirchgasser and first in slalom. ... Her previous win was in GS at Sierra Nevada Feb. 24, 2007. ... It is her second podium of the season having placed third at Zagreb in slalom Jan. 3.
It is the 46th career World Cup podium result for Tanja Poutiainen. ... the 26th in slalom. ... It is her second podium at Kranjska Gora, the first a third place result in GS Jan. 6, 2007. ... It is her second podium of the season having also finished second in slalom at Courchevel Dec. 18.
It is the 11th career World Cup podium result for Veronika Zuzulova. ... all in slalom. ... It is her first podium of the season, the next best result a sixth at Aspen in November. ... It is her second podium at Kranjska Gora having also placed third in the slalom Jan. 7, 2007.
North Americans: Lindsey Vonn matches her 11th best career Cup slalom result. ... It is her best slalom result of the season and best since Nov. 13, 2010 at Levi (6th). ... It is the fourth best career Cup result for Erin Mielzynski of seven total all in slalom. ... It is her third best of four scoring results this season. ... Julia Mancuso matches her 22nd best Cup slalom result. ... and scores for the 13th time this season.
Standings: Vonn maintains her lead of the World Cup overall standings 970-688 over Tina Maze (fourth in race). ... Marlies Schild (DNF 1st) is third with 548pts. ... Mancuso is seventh with 422pts. ... Marie-Michele Gagnon (DNF 1st) is top Canadian in 42nd with 91pts. ... Schild continues to lead the slalom standings 500-337 for Maze. ... Kirchgasser jumps to third with 305pts. ... top American is Vonn in 13th with 110pts. ... Mielzynski is top Canadian in 20th with 71pts. ... Austria leads the women's Nations Cup 3028-1825 over the US. ... Gemany is third with 1410. ... Canada 11th with 209pts.
Image by Gepa
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||FIS Points|
|Did not qualify 1st run|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|49||425880||SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth||1991||NOR|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|70||35089||SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena||1984||ARG|
|67||35079||SIMARI BIRKNER Maria Belen||1982||ARG|