Maria Riesch produced the run of her life after very nearly missing out on the second run. Approaching the finish line on the first run, Riesch skied wide and hade to battle to make the gate and then the finish line before crossing the line. These battling strengths are something that she is fast becoming well known for. In the finish area Riesch knew that she would have to put something special down in the last World Cup race of 2010 if she was to salvage anything. What she delivered will remain in the memory of the huge Austrian crowd watching this night race in Semmering. This was slalom racing with determination in abundance; this was what the crowd had come to watch.
Marlies Schild was also back to her best and had a very comfortable lead after the first run over the rest of the field of 1.20 seconds. In theory it all looked nice and easy, job done. Oh no. This sort of challenge is what Maria Riesch is made for and with her father celebrating his birthday in Semmering watching his two daughter’s race, Maria wanted to give him something special to remember the day by.
Riesch started the second run in the middle of the pack following the first run problem. What she delivered was a run of precision, strength and determination. By the time she crossed the finish line at the bottom of the course, she had destroyed Frida Hansdotter’s time by over two seconds. Now it was a question of waiting to see who could better her time.
As racer after racer came down, each using up their advantage from the first run and more, Riesch’s smile grew larger. With Lindsey Vonn having skied out in the first run, each place she could make up increased her lead in the Overall. Into the top ten and still Maria Riesch stood in the leader’s area. Into the top five and the gap was narrowing but the time was not being bettered. In true gladiatorial fashion, with just Marlies Schild to go, Maria stood in the finish area – could she hold on for one more racer to complete one of the most incredible finishes to a World Cup race?
With an advantage of 2.40 seconds from the first run, Schild set off. Schild admitted to having problems with her left ski on the second run yet managed to hold on by just 0.32 seconds for the win. For Riesch, her second place was still more than she expected after the first run: ““It was great days for me, being on the podium twice in Semmering makes me really happy,” Riesch explained. “It’s important when you want to go for the overall podium that you’re consistent. Sometimes some mistakes are happening like the first run in the slalom, but still, with this end result, I’m really, really happy.”
In the men’s World Cup downhill in Bormio, Bode Miller was the top ranked HEAD racer in eighth place, Michael Walchhofer won the race.
1. Marlies Schild
2. Maria Schild (GER) HEAD
3. Christina Geiger
10. Sarka Zahrobska (CZE) HEAD
15. Susanne Riesch (GER) HEAD
24. Lizz Goergl (AUT) HEAD