Maria Riesch made it up onto the top step of the podium at the Night Slalom in Flachau. After four second places in the World Cup Slalom races this season, the German star of this years World Cup across the disciplines added another victory to her successes this season in dramatic fashion coming from third after the first run. With 15,000 Austrian fans coming to see Marlies Schild perform, it was the HEAD skier, Riesch, who took the plaudits and the win sharing it with Tanja Poutiainen and Nastasia Noens in third.
“I’m so happy,” Riesch said. “I finally have my first win in slalom this season. I was second place four times and it’s absolutely no problem to share it with Tanja.” After her first run Riesch had shook her head in disbelief as to how the run had gone and then in true fighting style that she is renowned for, she had attacked on the second run. With Lindsey Vonn making an error and crashing out on the first run, Riesch knew that she had an opportunity if she skied well to improve on her four second places. Coming into the race Riesch commented: “I really like the hill in Flachau. The atmosphere is really good, too,” With this in mind Riesch did not fail to deliver.
With the new start ramp slightly steeper than last year and some artificial rolls making the hill a little more challenging, the first run gave a number of racers trouble. With the top thirty fired up for the second run, with three to go Kathrin Zettel was leading. Zettel’s time was not good enough for the power and strength of Riesch as she went looking for the win. At the bottom Riesch had the lead and then had to stand in the leader’s enclosure while Noens tried to better her time. She failed. Then came first run leader Poutiainen. At first Poutiainen stretched her lead but across the flats approaching the finish, the time drained away and when she crossed the line, it was the same time as Riesch. After Svindal and Richard had shared a win in the men’s race in Adelboden, now it was the time for the girls to prove that they can bring the excitement to the races as well!
Despite having won four of the slalom’s these season, Schild now relinquishes the lead in the Women’s World Cup slalom to Riesch after crashing out on the second run. Riesch also extends her lead in the Overall to almost two hundred points. The seventeenth career win for Riesch, her seventh in slalom has brought her large gains in the race for the Overall and the Slalom Globe!
While Riesch was thrilled with the win, the prize for the happiest racer in the finish went to Anne-Sophie Barthet; who scored her second best ever result with 9th and then treated the crowd to a dance in the finish. Anna Goodman also made it into the top fifteen for the first time in her career with 14th.
1. Maria Riesch (GER) HEAD
1. Tanja Poutiainen
3 Nastasia Noens
9 Anne-Sophie Barthet (FRA) HEAD
14 Anna Goodman (CAN) HEAD
16 Denise Feierabend (SUI) HEAD
22 Jessica Puenchera (SUI) HEAD