First giant slalom podium for Maria Riesch

January 16th, 2010

The reigning slalom World Champion finished an unexpected 2nd today at Maribor in the first giant slalom race of the season behind Austria’s top favorite Kathrin Zettel. Sweden’s Anja Paerson finished 3rd.

A winner in all events except in giant slalom since 2004, the HEAD champion has been aiming for a long time to reach the podium in that specialty – in fact it has been one of her goals at the season start beside more strong performances in the other events.

“I’m really delighted to have finally done so well here today, I have been hoping for a long time doing so well in giant slalom,” she said after the race. “The conditions were favorable for me today after two excellent days of giant slalom training in past days,” the Bavarian added.

“It’s easier to get onto the giant slalom skis after a slalom race than after a speed event. I’m really proud of myself to have been able to finish so close to Kathrin Zettel who is such an established giant slalom specialist.”

“This result is a strong boost for my moral prior Sunday’s slalom race. I did well here last year in slalom and I feel very comfortable on that slope. I’ll fight for another good result tomorrow.”

More success for Anja Paerson

Anja Paerson, a seven-time winner in Maribor, was also very satisfied with her first podium finish in a World Cup giant slalom for a long time – since her last win of the specialty was at Ofterschwang (GER) in February 2006.

It’s also her first podium finish in the Slovenian resort beside her seven triumphs. The HEAD Star was also four times 4th in Maribor in past years.

“I’m really happy, I have been waiting for a long time for this result,” told the multiple World Champion to the press. “Last summer I mostly trained giant slalom but I didn’t do so well until now in the previous technical races. It’s a very strong achievement for me.”

The former two-time Overall World Cup champion, twice on the podium in downhill and Super-G last weekend at Haus im Ennstal, sustained a tough moment at Flachau on Tuesday night when she hurt her knee in the first slalom run while violently straddling a gate after clocking a very fast time.

Fortunately, that injury was not as serious as first thought and Anja could train well enough to be ready for this race. An eleven-time winner in giant slalom on the World Cup tour since 2003, Anja has excelled on almost all giant slalom courses used on the tour – winning on ten of them.

With a total of 40 single wins and her eight Olympic and World Championships gold medals, the skier from Taernaby is the most successful racer still active on the women’s circuit.

Her next goal is another World Cup triumph and more medals at Whistler Mountain.