Schild takes sixth slalom win of the season in Andorra’s World Cup debut
A day after strong winds destroyed equipment and canceled a giant slalom in Soldeu, Andorra, the tiny country finally got to celebrate its Wold Cup debut today (Feb. 11) as Austrian Marlies Schild won her sixth slalom race of the season.
Schild, winner of the first five slalom races of the season, stood fifth after the first run, 0.74 seconds behind leader Tanja Poutiainen of Finland. In round two, it looked like Schild had been skiing on the brand new Avet course for years as she tore into the critical final steep section and crossed the line nearly a second faster (0.94) than any other racer in the second run.
Today’s win marks Schild’s 33rd World Cup slalom victory, tying her with Vreni Schneider for the most slalom wins for a woman in World Cup history.
Both of the fastest two women from the first run failed to finish the second run. German Christina Geiger, second after the first run, fell near the bottom of the course. Poutiainen, the final racer down the hill, was dealt a particularly tough hand as she held a 0.23-second lead at the final split timer but was blinded by snow-carrying wind gusts on the final pitch of the course and skied off line.
“I always like to be in the lead after the first run, because then I know the things I did in the first run were OK and then I can be really aggressive in the second run. Today it was more difficult,” Schild told Fisalpine.com. “I thought maybe I could get on the podium, I never thought I could win. Of course, Tanja did not finish, Christina Geiger did not finish … I made a good run in the lower part of the course and it worked out really well.”
Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter, third after the first run, was 0.60 seconds behind Schild in combined time to earn her second career World Cup podium in second place. It had been three years since Hansdotter first stood atop a World Cup podium with another second place finish in Ofterschwang, Germany in 2009.
Austrian Kathrin Zettel grabbed the final podium spot in third, 0.86 seconds off of her teammate Schild’s winning pace.
A strong crowd of Andorran fans filled the base of the course and the sun was bright in the cloudless sky for the historic day in the Pyrenees Mountains. The brutal winds that led to the cancellation of yesterday’s race after tents were carried into rivers and TV towers were destroyed had calmed but occasional gusts hampered the visibility of several racers.
“The wind was mostly uphill, especially on the first run. I was heading towards the breakover on the first run and I couldn't see where I was going,” said American Mikaela Shiffrin. “I couldn't see the ground, I couldn't see my hands and I was like 'I hope I'm going around the right gate right now.'”
Canadian Marie-Michele Gagnon had a great day on the new track, taking eighth place to tie her second best results in a World Cup slalom.
Shiffrin was the only American to reach the 30-woman second run. Standing 20th after run one, the 16-year-old, Vail, Colo. native put down the fourth-fastest second run time to finish 10th. It was her third career top-10 finish after she took eighth in the Aspen slalom and third in Lienz at the end of December.
“I learned to never give up today. Michaela Kirchgasser (AUT) totally beefed her first run, still made the flip and just hammered her second run to jumped up as many spots as I did,” said Shiffrin. “She was behind me in the first run, but finished ahead of me. I learned the most from her and Marlies Schild, they're so solid and they know it.”
Current World Cup overall leader Lindsey Vonn was within reach of the leader and looking strong in the first run before she fell just a few gates from the finish in the last steep section of the course.
“It was a surprise not to finish, because the hill is perfect, so I am disappointed not to have had a good result. It was fun to ski and the crowd was great,” said Vonn. “Tomorrow is important for the giant slalom standings. I'm third right now, so I hope I can make up some points.”
U.S. teammate Resi Stiegler, who recently notched three wins at NorAm races in Vail, didn’t qualify for the second run, 0.15 seconds behind the cutoff line in 34th in the first run. Julia Mancuso struggled on the unfamiliar course in her least favorite discipline, finishing 4.69 seconds behind the leader in 48th in the first run.
Defending World Cup overall champion, German Maria Hoefl-Riesch was also on the first run DNF list having missed a gate in the rolling top section of the course. The defending slalom Olympic gold medalist has collected three DNFs in slalom races this season.
World Cup racing in Soldeu continues tomorrow with a women’s giant slalom.
Image by Gepa
by Hank McKee
Women's World Cup Slalom, Soldeu-Grandvalira, Andorra, Feb. 11, 2012
1 Schild, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Hansdotter, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
3 Zettel, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4 Noens, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
5 Zuzulova, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
6 Borssen, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
7 Duerr, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
8 Gagnon, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
9 Kirchgasser, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
10 Shiffrin, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
Women's World Cup slalom, Soldeu-Grandvalira, Andorra, Feb. 11, 2012 ... It is the 24th race of the women's 39 race 2012 World Cup schedule. ... It is the seventh of 10 scheduled slaloms. ... The two races originally scheduled at Soldeu were flipped-flopped after high winds canceled the Courchevel GS that had been moved to the site. ... This is the first Cup race to be held in Andorra.
It is the 35th career World Cup victory for Marlies Schild. ... her 33rd in slalom, tying her with Vreni Schneider for the most slalom wins in World Cup history for a female. ... She is two behind Alberto Tomba and seven behind Ingemar Stenmark. ... It is her sixth win of the season, all in slalom.
It is the second career World Cup podium result for Frida Hansdotter, both of them second place finishes, the first scored at Ofterschwang March 7, 2009. ... It is her first single digit result of this Cup season.
It is the 37th career World Cup podium result for Kathrin Zettel. ... her 18th in slalom. ... It is her second podium of the season the other alsoin slalom at Courchevel Dec. 18.
North Americans: Marie-Michele Gagnon matches her fourth best career Cup result. ... She is one place away from matching her slalom best. ... It is her fourth slalom score of the season. ... It is the third top 10 result in 10 career Cup scoring results for Mikaela Shiffrin, all in slalom. ... all from this season. ... It is the fourth best of eight career scoring finishes for Erin Mielzynski. ... all in slalom. ... It is her fifth score of the season and matches her third best of the season.
Standings: Lindsey Vonn (DNF 1st) leads the World Cup overall standings 1350-892 over Tina Maze (11th in race). ... Maria Hoefl-Riesch (DNF 1st) is third overall with 796pts. ... Julia Mancuso (did not qualify) is seventh overall with 607pts. ... Gagnon leads Canada in 35th place with 168pts. ... Schild leads the slalom standings 600-361 over Maze. ... Kirchgasser (ninth in race) is third with 334pts. ... Shiffrin is the top US racer in 15th with 118pts. ... Mielzynski the top Canadian in 21st with 73pts. ... Austria leads the women's Nations Cup standings 4000-2554 over the US. ... Italy is third with 1838pts and Canada 11th with 314pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||FIS Points|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|59||35089||SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena||1984||ARG|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|58||35079||SIMARI BIRKNER Maria Belen||1982||ARG|
|54||425880||SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth||1991||NOR|