The final race of 2012 ended in dramatic fashion, as Veronika Velez Zuzulova picked up her first career win and the first-ever World Cup victory for the nation of Slovakia under the flood lights in Semmering, Austria Saturday. (There were two prior wins for Czechoslovakia, of which Slovakia was once part.)
A clear and relatively cold night allowed the snow to get hard and the racers to enjoy a perfect ski slope for the fourth slalom of the season.
Zuzulova, who has finished runner-up six times on the World Cup, broke the heart of the Austrian crowd that was roaring in support of countrywomen Kathrin Zettel, who threw down a blistering second run to take a more-than-a-second lead on rest of the field with only Tina Maze and the Slovak left to ski.
After the fastest first-run time, World Cup overall leader Maze was searching for her sixth win of the season, first in slalom. But none could match the pace of Zuzulova, whose first-run advantage on Zettel shrank by two-tenths of a second. It was just enough to hang on for the win, as Maze settled for third.
After finishing a promising fourth in the first run, American Mikaela Shiffrin clipped a gate, twice. The first time she got spun around and was able to hike back up into the course, but the 17-year-old was unable to recover from the second mistake through a mid-run flush, to finish with a DNF. Shiffrin relinquished the lead in the slalom standings, but she gets an A for effort on the day.
It was a positive day for American Resi Stiegler, who finished the first run in 14th and continued her comeback from knee surgery. Stiegler lost time on the first interval, but was able to gain a little back before dropping more than a second in the final turns of the course. She was 26th on the day, her best result of the season.
by Hank McKee
Women’s World Cup Slalom, Semmering, Austria, Dec. 29, 2012
1 Velez Zuzulova, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
2 Zettel, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
3 Maze, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
4 Hoefl-Riesch, Head/Lange/Head
5 Pietielae-Holmner, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
6 Geiger, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
7 Poutiainen, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
8 Curtoni, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
9 Holdener, Head/Head/Head
10 Borssen, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
Women’s World Cup (night) Slalom, Semmering, Austria, Dec. 29, 2012. … It is the 29th race of the 73 race 2012-13 World Cup season. … the 17th of 38 races on the women’s schedule and the 16th to be held. … It is the fourth of nine women’s slaloms plus two city event parallels which will count for slalom points. … It is the 20th Cup race hosted by Semmering. … the 12th slalom.
It is the first career World Cup win for Veronika Valez Zuzulova, and the first for Slovakia. … He has been second six times and third seven times, all in slalom. … It is her first podium of the season.
It is the 43rd career World Cup podium placing for Kathrin Zettel. … her 20th in slalom. … and her fourth podium at Semmering, having won in GS in 2006 and 2008. … She was also second in slalom at Semmering in 2006. … It is her sixth podium of the season and second in slalom.
It is the 49th career World Cup podium for Tina Maze. … her 11th in slalom. … It is her second podium (in two days) at Semmering. … And her 11th podium of the season including four of the five disciplines.
It is a career best Cup result for Brittany Phelan. … All four of her career scoring results have come this season in slalom. … Erin Mielzynski matches her seventh best career result and is two placings better than her previous best at Semmering from 2010. … It is her third score of the season. … It is the tenth score of the season for Marie-Michele Gagnon. … her third in slalom. … It is the second career Cup scoring result for Elli Terwiel, matching her other score, in slalom at Courchevel Dec. 17, 2011. … It is the second score of the season for Resi Stiegler.
Maze leads the World Cup overall standings 1059-632 over Maria Hoefl-Riesch (fourth in race). … Zettel is third with 582pts. … Lindsey Vonn (did not race) is fifth overall with 414pts. … Julia Mancuso (did not race) is seventh with 351pts. … and Mikaela Shiffrin (DNF 2nd) is tenth with 286pts. … Gagnon tops the Canadians in 18th with 193pts. … Maze leads the slalom standings 230-224 over Hoefl-Riesch with Velez Zuzulova third at 205pts. … Shiffrin in fourth with 196pts. … Mielzynski is top Canadian in 13th with 76pts. … Austria leads the women’s Nations Cup 2304-1525 over the US. … Germany is third with 1454 and Canada ninth with 358pts.
FIS World Cup
Dec. 29, 2012
|Rank||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time|
|1||VELEZ ZUZULOVA Veronika||1984||SVK||47.77||49.51||1:37.28|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena||1984||ARG|
|SIMARI BIRKNER Maria Belen||1982||ARG|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|GASIENICA DANIEL Agnieszka||1987||POL|