After her disappointing crash in giant slalom on Saturday, the weekend ended on a much more positive note for Maria Riesch who achieved her 32nd podium finish in a World Cup race as she came in 2nd in the slalom behind France’s Sandrine Aubert. Her younger sister Susanne came in 3rd and Sweden’s Anja Pärson 4th while Sarka Zahrobska, the winner at Aspen three weeks ago was 7th and Lindsey Vonn 8th.
Maria Riesch was leading the standings after the first leg yet the reigning slalom World Champion couldn’t match Aubert’s pace in the second run raced by very difficult weather conditions because of thick fog covering the treacherous Are slope.
“I tried hard but I could not ski faster, it was really difficult with this fog so I’m pleased with my result. It’s so great to share the podium with my younger sister Susanne, who has never finished a World Cup slalom among the best three,” Maria Riesch told the press afterwards. “She was twice 4th this season and now finally on the podium, it’s wonderful.”
“After my crash in Saturday’s giant slalom, it’s a meaningful result, maybe I didn’t feel fully confident after that fall,” added the skier from Garmisch-Partenkirchen who was happy to reinforce her lead in the slalom World Cup standings and to regain the lead in the Overall standings.
“It’s of course nice but it’s too early to make any plans on the Overall title for the moment,” she also said. “There are still so many races left and the most important for the moment is to remain healthy and confident.”
After being twice 4th in recent slalom races, Susanne had reached a new step in her career with her first World Cup podium. “I have been fighting hard for this, it was my main goal today here after being twice 4th in past weeks,” Susanne said. “I’m so glad to have succeeded and stand next to Maria on today’s podium. It’s just wonderful,” she also commented.
The 22-year-old Bavarian has now great chances to qualify for the Vancouver Olympics. She didn’t do so well at her last World Championships in 2007 and 2009, failing to finish twice the first run. She sits now in 3rd place in the slalom World Cup standings with 160 points – already 27 more than after the entire last season. She also reinforced her position in the international start list in slalom. She is now 10th with great chance to keep on improving her ranking in two weeks at Lienz.
The next women races are scheduled this week at Val d’Isère, on the ‘Classic’ OK course at La Daille where the first Super-combined of the season is planned along a downhill and a Super-G. There will be good opportunities for the ‘Milka Ski Girls’ to accumulate more podium finishes in the French resort where Maria Riesch clinched her slalom gold medal last season.