Maria Riesch strengthened her position as the top female skier on the World Cup with her fourth runners up spot in Slalom this season. The Zagreb slope is not the highest but it is one of the most keenly contested on the World Cup and the support is draws is legendary. 10,000 Croatian fans made their way to the slope for the Snow Queen race having watched the complete field make their way to the slope by motorcade – a truly impressive sight!
With fog at the start of the course, this cleared as the racers approached the packed finish. The denseness of the fog allowed for visibility of three to four gates: The racers earned their spurs in this classic Night Slalom. This is the race the slalom girls all want to win. While Marlies Schild set her stall out early with a blistering first run, Maria Riesch fought back to add more valuable points in the race for the Overall World Cup. With speed races in Altenmarkt and Cortina next up on the agenda, this was a solid result for Riesch when many other racers struggled to make an impact.
Riesch was the second fastest on the second run but she was unable to pull back much of the lead Schild from Schild. Riesch was not overly happy with her first run but acknowledged that it was the same for all the racers. "I was really in trouble several times, I did not have the best view, but it was difficult for everyone," she explained. Riesch’s impressive second run saw her gain a place from third after the first run.
While the first run was blighted by the fog, the second was run under bright lights which gave for better vision for the thirty racers left in the event. With 74 gates to negotiate on the second run, this was the longest course by almost eight seconds the slalom girls have had to attempt this year!
With Lindsey Vonn crashing out on the first run along with 24 others, Maria Riesch know leads the standings with the top three places all taken by HEAD racers. Lizz Goergl is in third place Overall.
1. Marlies Schild
2. Maria Riesch (GER) HEAD
3. Manuela Moelgg
14 Denise Feierabend (SUI) HEAD
15 Anne Sophie Barthet (FRA) HEAD
19 Sarka Zahrobska (CZE) HEAD