Maria Hoefl-Riesch scored her second third place of the weekend in coming from tenth after the Super G leg of the Super Combined to finish in third in the first Super Combined of the World Cup season. Canadian Marie-Michelle Gagnon took the race victory; Michaela Kirchgasser took second.
Hoefl-Riesch had been a little down after the Super G and when she came down the slalom she admitted she knew that Kirchgasser was a long way in the front. “My slalom run was not the best,” she admitted after the race. “Yesterday I was third by seven hundredths and the same again today, I missed second place by seven hundredths and I could have easily made this up,” she explained. “All in all it is a really successful weekend for me and I am really happy.”
While the weather played a part in the outcome, Hoefl-Riesch was the last racer to make it on to the podium. As a strong speed skier, this part of the race had not been her best despite the early start of the race. Anna Fenninger had been the best placed HEAD World Cup Rebel in third after the Super G with Lizz Goergl in sixth and Hoefl-Riesch in tenth. Ramona Siebenhofer and Kajsa Kling also made the top fifteen finishers from the Super G section in 12th and 14th.
As the warm air played with the snow conditions, Hoefl-Riesch’s slalom run was, she admitted, not her strongest and when she placed in third with nine more racers to go, she felt at first it would not be enough.
With each racer having a greater advantage yet still not being able to better the combined time, Hoefl-Riesch was soon being pulled back into the leaders enclosure with the other podium winners.
With just Niki Hosp to go, her lead was a considerable 1.37 seconds over Gagnon who lead and more to Hoefl-Riesch. By the half way stage, the lead was halved and when the Austrian crossed the line, she slotted into fourth and Hoefl-Riesch had her second career podium in Super Combined World Cup races. Hoefl-Riesch had not felt that confident that her time would hold up she admitted after the race but the clock said otherwise!
With third place, Hoefl-Riesch has returned to lead in the Overall World Cup with Anna Fenninger in second.
1. Marie-Michelle Gagnon (CAN)
2. Michaela Kirchgasser (AUT)
3. Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) HEAD
7. Ramona Siebenhofer (AUT) HEAD
8. Anna Fenninger (AUT) HEAD
10. Denise Feierabend (SUI) HEAD
11. Lizz Goergl (AUT) HEAD
12. Wendy Holdener (SUI) HEAD
18. Camilla Borsotti (ITA) HEAD
30. Magdelena Fjaellstrom (SWE) HEAD