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Zettel takes Maribor slalom; U.S. Team out

MARIBOR, Slovenia – Kathrin Zettel reached the clouds in Maribor on Sunday. After claiming her first win of the season in Saturday’s World Cup giant slalom, the Austrian landed the first slalom victory of her Cup career, finishing with a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 42.98 seconds.

It looked as if Zettel’s teammate Marlies Schild was poised for another slalom victory. Schild led the first run by more than a second but straddled a gate in the second. Tina Maze, ninth after the first run and almost two seconds back, prompted a roar from the massive home crowd when she skied into first place in her second run, then held on to take the second step of the podium, .72 seconds behind Zettel.

World Cup slalom leader Maria Riesch, who has now finished on the podium in the last three races, including a second place Saturday for the first podium of her GS career, was third, 1.28 seconds back, and now leads Lindsey Vonn in the overall standings with 922 points to Vonn’s 894.

Vonn had a tough first run, never finding speed in the turny course set and making a couple of mistakes to finish out of the flip for the second run.

“She just needs a break,” U.S. women’s head coach Jim Tracy said of Vonn, who took a huge emotional blow on Saturday when she was sitting in second place after the first GS run in Maribor then crashed just before the finish line in the second run. “Mentally, these races really take their toll. Also, this course doesn’t necessarily suit her style of skiing.”

The gate set for the second run was considerably more open than the first and several racers capitalized on the space to find their speed while others – like Schild – met with bad luck. Zettel’s luck – not to mention her talent for adjusting to the conditions – was as good as it gets.

“It’s an amazing day,” Zettel said. “I can’t believe it. After the lead from Marlies in the first run, I didn’t believe [it could happen]. It’s wonderful. I’m flying now on cloud seven. I’ll take it to the Olympics.”

The race was the last slalom before the Olympics … the only one remaining after that will be at World Cup finals in March in Garmisch.

Racers said the course set for the first run at Maribor was one of the turniest they’ve seen on the slalom circuit this season. Schild was surprised to come down more than a second in the lead … especially considering the flat light and heavy snowfall. Conditions were bumpy for late racers in the second run, in which Maze (48.52 seconds) and Zettel (48.60 seconds) put down the fastest times.

“I can’t believe it because Marlies was in front of me the first run. I had to take full risk and ski well,” said Zettel, who, with her ninth podium of the season – her fifth in slalom – now trails Riesch in the slalom standings with 410 points to Riesch’s 433. “I’m very proud today. [In] slalom [it] was a big wish for my heart to win one time.”

Maze, who was disappointed with her 13th place in Saturday’s GS after winning last year’s race, said she didn’t feel much pressure going into the second slalom run after finishing ninth in the first.

 “The times were quite tight to the fourth place, [it] was only three tenths,” Maze said. “I thought I could improve to there with my good run. I was just trying to have fun on the slope and ski like I can.”

Maze said that eight buses full of fans came from her nearby village – Crna – and she was clearly the star of the venue, with members of her family selling “Tina Maze” scarves outside of the stadium and the entire place chanting her name when it became clear that she would finish on the podium.

“I’m happy that I made home happy,” Maze said. “It was a special race after yesterday’s disappointment. I’m happy I could do that today.”

Riesch, who now has three back-to-back podium finishes in tech events, was quick to remind everyone that a series of speed races are coming up and Vonn will be back on her game.

“Of course it’s nice to be the leader but it’s not the end of the season,” Riesch said. “I think Lindsey could be hard to beat again in Cortina and St. Moritz. I took my chance here and made good results, but it’s not the end of the season yet, so it’s not good to think too much about [winning the overall] already.”

As for slalom, Riesch said that the field is much more competitive this season and the battle for the slalom globe will a be a close one.

“In slalom I’m a little bit away from my performance last year because last year at this time I was winning four races in a row,” Riesch said. “The fact that Marlies is back and back strong makes it more competitive. It’s also Kathrin Zettel, Sandrine Aubert, my sister … lots of people giving me a hard time. I’m a little bit away from my best performance ever. It’s a tight race against Kathrin now. I hope I can still win the slalom globe.”

The only North Americans to finish Sunday’s race were Canadians Brigitte Acton and Marie-Michele Gagnon, who finished 23rd and 28th, respectively.

Tracy said that Vonn started and ended her race on the wrong foot after her emotionally exhausting day on Saturday and is struggling to find the right equipment setup and her stride in tech events. He said while there were a few shining seconds, the rest of the team just didn’t pull it together. Sarah Schleper was putting down a fast run but straddled a gate in the middle of the course, while Megan McJames and Julia Mancuso also DNFed in the first run and Hailey Duke, Sterling Grant, Kiley Staples and Kaylin Richardson finished way down the line.

“It just wasn’t the best day,” Tracy said. “There were some good things. Sarah was charging away and just made a silly mistake. Hailey did some good things, Sterling did some good things … but it was an off day.”

The FIS Audi women’s World Cup continues this weekend in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, with downhill, super G and GS races.

- by Shauna Farnell

Photos by GEPA

The SCOOP
By Hank McKee

Equipment
Women’s Slalom, Maribor, Slovenia, Jan. 17, 2010

Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Zettel, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Maze, Stoeckli/Lange/Rossignol
3 Riesch, Head/Lange/Head
4 Riesch, Head/Lange/Head
5 Aubert, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
6 Pietilae-Holmner, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
7 Leinonen, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
8 Chmelar, Head/Lange/Head
9 Zahrobska, Head/Head/Head
10 Geiger, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol

Women’s slalom, Maribor, Slovenia, Jan. 17, 2010
. … It is the 20th race of the women’s 33 race 2010 World Cup schedule. … It is the seventh of eight scheduled slaloms. … It is the 61st World Cup race held at Maribor. … the 34th slalom.

It is the eighth career World Cup win for Kathrin Zettel. … Her first in slalom, the remaining seven all coming in GS. … It is her second straight win having also won yesterday’s GS. … It is her second win of the season, but ninth podium. … It is her 14th career slalom podium. … Her third at Maribor in two seasons.

It is the 19th career World Cup podium for Tina Maze. … Her first in slalom. … It is her second Cup podium of the season, the other, also a second, coming in GS at Are Dec. 12. … She has four career podium results from Maribor including two GS wins from 2005 and last season.

It is the 37th career World Cup podium for  Maria Riesch. … Her 13th in slalom. … It is her ninth Cup podium of the season. … Her fourth in slalom. … It is the fourth time this season Maria and her sister Susanne have finished a Cup race in consecutive positions.

It is the 21st best of 29 ca
reer scoring efforts for Brigitte Acton. …her 15th score in slalom. … It is her sixth score of the season all of them coming in slalom. …  It is the fifth career Cup scoring result for Marie-Michele Gagnon. … third in slalom. … Her second score of the season,, the other a 14th place finish at Levi Nov. 14.

Maria Riesch regains the lead of the World Cup overall standings 922-894 over Lindsey Vonn (DNQ). … Zettel holds third at 829pts. … Emily Brydon (did not race) is the top Canadian on the overall list in 18th place with 231pts. … Riesch maintains the lead of the slalom standings 433-410 over Zettel. … Sandrine Aubert (5th in race) sits in third with 361pts. … Vonn is the top North American in 13th place with 125ots. … Acton the top Canadian in 22nd placce with 66pts. … Austria leads the women’s Nations Cup 2510-2385 over Germany. … France is third at 1620. … The U.S. fourth at 1442 and Canada eighth at 648.

Results:
Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time FIS Points
 1  1  55838 ZETTEL Kathrin  1986  AUT   54.38  48.60  1:42.98  0.00
 2  14  565243 MAZE Tina  1983  SLO   55.17  48.52  1:43.69  4.14
 3  3  206001 RIESCH Maria  1984  GER   54.50  49.76  1:44.26  7.46
 4  15  206160 RIESCH Susanne  1987  GER   54.94  49.40  1:44.34  7.92
 5  7  195972 AUBERT Sandrine  1982  FRA   54.90  49.80  1:44.70  10.02
 6  9  505760 PIETILAE-HOLMNER Maria  1986  SWE   54.90  49.91  1:44.81  10.66
 7  26  185271 LEINONEN Sanni  1989  FIN   55.69  49.28  1:44.97  11.59
 8  10  206035 CHMELAR Fanny  1985  GER   55.58  49.49  1:45.07  12.18
 9  2  155415 ZAHROBSKA Sarka  1985  CZE   55.06  50.10  1:45.16  12.70
 10  11  206279 GEIGER Christina  1990  GER   55.19  50.15  1:45.34  13.75
 11  6  185140 POUTIAINEN Tanja  1980  FIN   54.96  50.63  1:45.59  15.21
 12  18  296259 MOELGG Manuela  1983  ITA   56.45  49.15  1:45.60  15.27
 13  33  295445 KARBON Denise  1980  ITA   56.58  49.06  1:45.64  15.50
 14  16  205993 HOELZL Kathrin  1984  GER   55.70  50.14  1:45.84  16.66
 15  35  705287 ZUZULOVA Veronika  1984  SVK   56.22  49.67  1:45.89  16.95
 16  25  565320 FERK Marusa  1988  SLO   55.93  50.05  1:45.98  17.48
 17  17  505610 BORSSEN Therese  1984  SWE   56.57  49.44  1:46.01  17.65
 18  21  296354 COSTAZZA Chiara  1984  ITA   56.11  49.97  1:46.08  18.06
 19  31  55576 GOERGL Elisabeth  1981  AUT   56.17  50.00  1:46.17  18.59
 20  20  295435 GIUS Nicole  1980  ITA   56.89  49.29  1:46.18  18.64
 21  38  205806 BLIENINGER Anja  1981  GER   56.87  49.47  1:46.34  19.58
 22  8  505679 HANSDOTTER Frida  1985  SWE   56.07  50.28  1:46.35  19.63
 23  27  106527 ACTON Brigitte  1985  CAN   56.43  49.97  1:46.40  19.93
 24  29  385027 FLEISS Nika  1984  CRO   56.38  50.03  1:46.41  19.98
 25  30  196016 DAUTHERIVES Claire  1982  FRA   56.35  50.12  1:46.47  20.33
 26  12  505483 PAERSON Anja  1981  SWE   56.47  50.02  1:46.49  20.45
 27  23  196806 NOENS Nastasia  1988  FRA   56.20  50.60  1:46.80  22.26
 28  40  105269 GAGNON Marie-Michele  1989  CAN   57.27  50.70  1:47.97  29.07
Disqualified 2nd run
   64  55898 BREM Eva-Maria  1988  AUT         
Did not start 1st run
   88  225206 ALCOTT Chemmy  1982  GBR         
Did not qualify 1st run
   90  315187 IGNJATOVIC Nevena  1990  SRB         
   87  415128 JARVIS Sarah  1986  NZE         
   86  35089 SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena  1984  ARG         
   83  565331 LAVTAR Katarina  1988  SLO         
   79  565354 GLOBOCNIK Sara  1990  SLO         
   78  155047 ZAKOURILOVA Petra  1978  CZE         
   77  537626 RICHARDSON Kaylin  1984  USA         
   76  515797 GMUER Miriam  1986  SUI         
   75  196621 BORDEAU Julie  1987  FRA         
   74  315149 LOLOVIC Jelena  1981  SRB         
   73  65038 PERSYN Karen  1983  BEL         
   69  305694 YUMOTO Hiromi  1981  JPN         
   67  196725 BARIOZ Taina  1988  FRA         
   66  196179 BERTRAND Marion  1984  FRA         
   65  196793 MARMOTTAN Anemone  1988  FRA         
   61  306096 HOSHI Mizue  1985  JPN         
   59  355040 NIGG Marina  1984  LIE         
   58  206355 DUERR Lena  1991  GER         
   57  196726 BARTHET Anne-Sophie  1988  FRA         
   56  106961 MIELZYNSKI Erin  1990  CAN         
   54  435142 KARASINSKA Katarzyna  1982  POL         
   53  425887 LOESETH Mona  1991  NOR         
   52  56032 SCHILD Bernadette  1990  AUT         
   51  515782 ABDERHALDEN Marianne  1986  SUI         
   50  55947 FENNINGER Anna  1989  AUT         
   49  506341 WIKSTROEM Emelie  1992  SWE         
   48  55977 THALMANN Carmen  1989  AUT         
   47  296509 CURTONI Irene  1985  ITA         
   45  107068 PHELAN Brittany  1991  CAN         
   43  535585 STAPLES Kiley  1989  USA         
   42  515587 PUENCHERA Jessica  1982  SUI         
   41  105615 ROUTHIER Eve  1988  CAN         
   39  538256 GRANT Sterling  1987  USA         
   37  537792 DUKE Hailey  1985  USA         
   36  516005 HANGL Celina  1989  SUI         
   34  515997 FEIERABEND Denise  1989  SUI         
   24  515733 BONJOUR Aline  1985  SUI         
   19  205168 DUERR Katharina  1989  GER         
   13  385032 JELUSIC Ana  1986  CRO         
   5  537544 VONN Lindsey  1984  USA         
Did not finish 2nd run
   4  55590 SCHILD Marlies  1981  AUT         
Did not finish 1st run
   92  715123 NOVAKOVIC Zana  1985  BIH         
   91  35079 SIMARI BIRKNER Maria Belen  1982  ARG         
   89  695073 SKRYABINA Anastasiya  1985  UKR         
   85  705349 GANTNEROVA Jana  1989  SVK         
   84  385034 FERK Matea  1987  CRO         
   82  425880 SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth  1991  NOR         
   81  565398 HAFNER Ula  1993  SLO         
   80  565268 DREV Ana  1985  SLO         
   72  296427 SCHNARF Johanna  1984  ITA         
   71  305962 HANAOKA Moe  1984  JPN         
   70  185229 ROMAR Tii-Maria  1986  FIN         
   68  425629 LOESETH Lene  1986  NOR         
   63  196928 WORLEY Tessa  1989  FRA         
   62  537545 MANCUSO Julia  1984  USA         
   60  425771 LOESETH Nina  1989  NOR         
   55  205239 WIRTH Barbara  1989  GER         
   46  206099 PERNER Nina  1986  GER         
   44  538284 MCJAMES Megan  1987  USA         
   32  515692 GRAND Rabea  1984  SUI         
   28  536481 SCHLEPER Sarah  1979  USA         
   22  55759 KIRCHGASSER Michaela  1985  AUT 

Shauna Farnell

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