Hoefl-Riesch triumphs in Are

Sat, 10 Mar 14:47:00 2012

Olympic champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch won the World Cup slalom by the slimmest of margins in Are to make up for a disappointing season in her once favourite discipline.

Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany competes in the first run of the women's FIS Alpine Ski World Cup slalom race in Are March 10, 2012. - 0

The German, who handed her overall World Cup crown to American Lindsey Vonn on Friday, clocked a combined time of one minute and 49.85 seconds for her third victory of the season and 23rd of her career.

Hoefl-Riesch beat Slovakia's Veronika Zuzulova by 0.01 seconds. Zuzulova has earned 12 podium finishes since 2004 but has yet to make it to the top.

Marie-Michele Gagnon confirmed the fine form of Canadian slalom specialists with third place, 0.11 seconds adrift, for her first medal placing in the World Cup.

Team-mate Erin Mielzynski last week became the first Canadian in 40 years to win in the discipline.

"At last I win a slalom this season. It's a relief after all the races in which I slid out, like in Ofterschwang, which was a big frustration," said Hoefl-Riesch, who enjoyed better visibility in the first leg.

"I was looking for a podium today and I had nothing to lose, no globe to win, just points to score for next season."

World and World Cup slalom champion Marlies Schild of Austria finished sixth.

"I struggled all day on this piste...I could not ski as deep as I usually do. I must improve in these conditions and keep some energy for the end of the season," said Schild, winner of six slaloms this season.

Vonn failed to complete the second run and to add points to her current overall total of 1,808. The American is trying to become the first woman to reach the 2,000 points mark.

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