Maria Riesch gave one of her most devastating performances in the World Cup Slalom in Aspen. Following a disappointing first run that had seen her end up in an uncharacteristic 7th place, Riesch knew that if she wanted to win the race, all out attack was required. And this is what she did. Riesch showed just why she is the top slalom skier in the world at the moment in posting the fastest second run time before Sweden’s Maria Pietilae Holmner stole victory. Second place for Riesch ensured she captured the red bib of the leader of the Slalom World Cup.
"I tried to attack,” she explained after her first run, “but I didn't find a good rhythm and a good position on my skis so I was just fighting to stay in. And then, from half way down when I was at the first flat, I tried to attack and make it up a little bit. The bottom was ok, not perfect, but I think I made the best of it." Just getting down the tight and turny first run was something 17 racers from the first run, failed to do.
Lizz Goergl dismissed the heartache of missing out of winning the Giant Slalom on the Saturday, she finished fourth just 0.06seconds behind the winner, with an impressive second run to pull herself up the leaderboard.
Such is Riesch’s determination her plan for the second run was to "find a better rhythm from the beginning and focus more on the technique, then from half way down, full attack." The second run course, set by her coach, Christian Schwaiger, was much more to her liking and Riesch tore up the leadership standings when she made the finish. Six racers at the top all waited to attack the new fastest time.
One by one they failed to better Riesch’s time until Pietilae-Holmner took to the course. Despite having a lead of 0.64seconds from the first run, Pietilae-Holmner was surprised to still be in the lead after having crossed the line. Second place for Riesch was perhaps more than she expected after the first run but determined racing brings rewards.
Aspen has been a happy hunting ground for HEAD racers in previous years as Sarka Zahrobska had won the race for the last two years but this time she had to be content with twelfth. With Lindsey Vonn in eighth; Lizz Goergl in 16th; Wendy Holdener from Switzerland coming from a start number of 50 to place 18th, and then three HEAD racers placing 21st=, 22 and 23rd: Denise Feierabend, Anna Goodman and Anja Paerson respectively.
With eight racers in the top 23, this yet again shows the success of HEAD skis.
1. Maria Pietilae-Holmner
2. MARIA RIESCH (GER) HEAD
3. Tanja Poutiainen
8. Lindsey Vonn (USA) HEAD
12. Sarka Zahrobska (CZE) HEAD
16. Lizz Goergl (AUT) HEAD
18. Wendy Holdener (SUI) HEAD
21= Denise Feierabend (SUI) HEAD
22. Anna Goodman (CAN) HEAD
23. Anja Paerson (SWE) HEAD