Hoelzl claims Lienz GS; Vonn not badly injured
Most of the fastest racers in the first run dropped speed one after another in the final run of the women's World Cup giant slalom in Lienz, Austria, on Monday but German Kathrin Hoelzl held onto her lead and claimed her second win of the season by .05 seconds.
Italian Manuela Moelgg was very close to her first World Cup win, tying teammate Federica Brignone for 12th after the first run and putting down the fastest second run of the day, 1.19 seconds faster than Hoelzl's to take second place. French tech specialist Taina Barioz earned her first World Cup podium, finishing just .06 seconds behind Moelgg and .11 seconds behind Hoelzl.
Lindsey Vonn, who crashed hard near the bottom of the first run and went to the hospital with an injured left arm, is "doing fine," according to U.S. women's technical coach Trevor Wagner.
U.S. Team representatives said Vonn suffered a bone bruise and that her arm is in a splint. Although she is "sore," Vonn is on the start list - No. 4 - for Tuesday's slalom.
According to the Associated Press, Dr. Eduard Sporer from the Lienz district hospital said an X-ray and MRI exam revealed only “swelling or edema in the bone” and that Vonn could be able to race in the slalom.
“She’s got a lot of pain now but if she feels well she could start,” Sporer said.
The crash occurred about nine gates from the finish when her skis slid apart in what other racers said was an area of grippy snow, inconsistent to the rest of the course, which they said was very icy. Vonn got up gingerly after the crash, skied to the bottom and said she just hoped the arm wasn't broken before she left for the hospital.
While Julia Mancuso lost a pole at the top of the course in the first run and finished out of the top 30, as did Jessica Kelley, Sarah Schleper and Megan McJames stepped up for the Americans.
Schleper, who nearly crashed herself in the first run but recovered and kept gunning to the finish, ended up 13th and Megan McJames, who had the third fastest second run time of the day, was 20th.
McJames was 26th after the first run and stood in the leader's box in the final for several minutes before Schleper replaced her for a couple of racers.
"There were a couple spots where I got a little late and behind it so I had to throw some spray to stay on track," Schleper said of the second run. "If I can just clean those up and trust myself a little bit more and then not let them go sideways I think I can pop into the top 10 or even top five. It was so fun to come into the finish with Megan right there. I think it was my most fun experience so far this year."
McJames also cherished the few minutes when the loudspeaker announced that Americans were in the lead.
"It's really cool," she said. "I get to keep seeing 'McJames' flash on the TV screen. Starting No. 50 in the first run, I really had to throw it down to get in there. The second run I had a clean course so it was a good opportunity to move up."
Hoelzl, who is the defending world GS champion, said the slope was similar to that in Aspen, where she landed her first World Cup win earlier this season, and that her .41-second lead in the first run was the formula for victory in Lienz.
"My first run was perfect, I did almost every gate like I wanted," Hoelzl said. "The second run wasn't so good, but I skied OK and I am very happy to win."
When asked if winning feels like a normal turn of events now that she has two under her belt early in the season, Hoelzl said it is still a pleasant surprise.
"I don't think it's normal, but it is nice," she said. "I think it will give me confidence going into the Olympics."
As the light got flat in the afternoon, top racers from the first run had trouble holding their speed in the second. Michaela Kirchgasser, who was second after the first run, ended up 10th, and Tina Maze, who was fourth after the first run and leading during the first half of the second, also lost speed coming into a flat on the middle of the course and ended up eighth. Moelgg said holding speed coming into the last break over in the second run was the recipe for success.
"I ski very well in the middle so I'm very happy," Moelgg said. "In the middle, it's steep and then flat. I ski well the two gates before that flat so that's the secret. I hope tomorrow I'm skiing so well in the slalom."
Watch Tuesday's World Cup slalom in Lienz live on universalsports.com.
by Shauna Farnell
Photos of Hoelzl (top) and Schleper by GEPA
By Hank McKee
Women's Giant Slalom, Lienz, Austria, Dec. 28, 2009
1 Hoelzl, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
2 Moelgg, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
3 Barioz, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
4 Brignone, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
5 Rebensburg, Nordica/Nordica/Marker
5 Zettel, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
7 Brem, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
8 Maze, Stoeckli/Lange/Rossignol
9 Pietilae-Holmner, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
10 Kirchgasser, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
Women's Giant Slalom, Lienz, Austria, Dec. 28, 2009. … It is the 12th race of the women's 32 race 2009-2010 World Cup schedule. … The fourth of seven scheduled giant slaloms. … It is the 18th World Cup held at Lienz, the eighth GS.
Kathrin Hoelzl is the first German to win at the site. … It is the second career Cup win for Hoelzl and her second of the season having also won at Aspen Nov. 28. … All of her 17 top 10 Cup results have come in GS.
It is the eighth career World Cup podium for Manuela Moelgg and the sixth time she has been second in a Cup race. … She does not have a win to her credit. … Of her podium results one is a slalom and the rest are GS's. … She was also 2nd exactly a year ago at Semmering. … It is the tenth podium of the season for Italy.
It is a career best result for Taina Barioz and just her 11th career scoring result. … It is her fourth score of the season. … It is the seventh podium of the season for France.
Sarah Schleper matches her 44th career best score. … and matches her third best result at Lienz. … It is her fourth score of the season, all coming in GS. … It is the sixth career scoring result for Megan McJames. … all in GS. … It is her first score of the season.
Lindsey Vonn (DNF 1st run) maintains the lead of the World Cup overall standings 581-521 over Maria Riesch (DNF 1st run). … Kathrin Zettel (5th in race) is third at 429pts. … Hoelzl leads the GS standings 281-265 over Zettel. … Tina Maze (8th in race) is third in the GS standings with 202pts. … Sarah Schleper in 15th with 67pts leads all North Americans.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||FIS Points|
|Did not qualify 1st run|
|435210||GASIENICA DANIEL Agnieszka||1987||POL|
|495065||RIENDA Maria Jose||1975||SPA|
|35079||SIMARI BIRKNER Maria Belen||1982||ARG|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|425880||SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth||1991||NOR|