HEAD remains unbeaten at Lake Louise as Austria’s veteran Elisabeth Goergl managed to finish in front of the almost ‘unbeatable’ Lindsey Vonn to win her third World Cup race at the end of the first Super-G race of the season.
The 28-year-old skier from Styria, who lives now in Innsbruck, perfectly glided on the final section of the well groomed ‘Mens Olympic Downhill Run’ to establish a best time out of reach for all the other favourites, including Vonn, who lost the race by only 3/100 of a second.
Two other HEAD champions came close to the podium as 20-year-old Anna Fenninger was 4th and Germany’s Maria Riesch 5th.
Sweden’s Anja Paerson skied out in the middle of the course after having clocked the fastest intermediate time. The multiple gold medal winner was charging hard to win her first race of the season but came out too wide after a turn and failed to make the next gates.
Goergl, a two-time winner in giant slalom two seasons ago, is no newcomer in Super-G, having already reached two podiums in that specialty. She even finished 2nd in the specialty World Cup standings in March 2008
Yet last year the talented Austrian only finished 14th in the final Super-G standings after a disappointing Super-G campaign. Apparently her 6th place in Saturday’s downhill race not so far from the podium was a strong boost for her confidence and she was ready to give her best again today.
“I mostly tried to remained relaxed and let my skis run smoothly down the course,” she explained afterwards. “I’m often trying too hard to win races, what makes me doing too many mistakes. This time I was very focused from top to bottom and didn’t make any major error.”
“It’s a great feeling to capture my first Super-G race yet I didn’t expect to beat Lindsey Vonn who has been so strong this week here and in Super-G last winter. It’s definitely a great result for me and the entire team which is pretty young now. I’m the veteran in our group and eventually its new leader. Some of the young girls have a great potential and I hope they will be inspired by this success. I also want to thank our staff for the great support they always give us.”
“The confidence that this victory provides me with should help me to raise my level in the other disciplines. I have reached the podium in all specialties in past years and I would also enjoy winning a downhill soon and maybe also a slalom.”
Lizz Görgl reached her first World Cup podium in 2003 in slalom at Bormio and became the tenth best skier on the tour a year later in 2004. She went through lots of ups-and-downs in her career and was happy to make it back at the top in 2008, winning two giant slalom races and fighting till the end against Italy's Denise Karbon to win the speciality World Cup title. She ended a close 2nd.
Last winter she was glad to clinch the bronze medal in Super-combined at the Val d’Isère World Championships where she also excelled in other events, finishing 4th in downhill, 6th in Super-G and 10th in giant slalom.
Vonn was happy
Lindsey Vonn congratulated her HEAD colleague afterwards for her great achievement, saying that she was glad to have reached a third consecutive podium in Lake Louise. “You have to respect the other favourites who are also fighting hard for victory in each race, Lisi did a great job on her way down the course and she fully deserved her victory,” said the defending Super-G World Cup champion.
“I was a little tired this morning after all those celebrations but I skied again really well and I’ll need to study the video to find out what happened to me at the bottom of the course,” added Vonn, who took over the lead in the Overall World Cup standings after this race.
“I didn’t make mistakes, maybe I was a little hard on my skis, but I’m more than happy by my results here. I started the speed season way better than last winter. I had to wait the middle of the season to finally nail my first Super-G podium so I can’t complain.”
“As I said, I don’t fight for records but to ski as fast as possible and this is what I did today. I’m pleased even though I didn’t win. It’s for sure tough to lose a race by only a few hundredths but it’s not the first time it happens to me. I already lost many downhills by only a couple of hundredths of a second.”
“Now I have to turn the page and start focusing on the coming European races. I’m happy to go back to Are where I enjoyed great success in recent seasons. I’m curious to see how my slalom is doing. I’m looking forward for another battle with Maria Riesch. We fly there very early so I’ll have the time to recover from the jet-lag and train a little.”
It was also a good day for Anna Fenninger, who achieved her best performance in Super-G since finishing 2nd last winter at Cortina d’Ampezzo. She was not so pleased with her downhill performances and was looking for such a comeback today.
Maria Riesch, who caught a cold two days ago, was sorry to have missed the podium by only 7/100 of a second, yet still pleased by her form after two great days of downhill skiing. “I’m happy now to go back home for a day or two and relax before flying out to Sweden, I have been looking forward to it,” said the skier from Garmisch-Partenkirchen who sits in second place in the Overall World Cup standings, only 28 points behind her friend Lindsey.
The next women’s race is scheduled for next weekend at Are, where a giant slalom and a slalom are planned on the courses of the 2007 World Championships.