Hoefl-Riesch takes first win of the season.
In perfect racing conditions Maria Hoefl-Riesch won the World Cup Super Combined race in St Moritz. Trailing Lindsey Vonn after the Super G section of the two run race, Hoefl Riesch put in a solid yet safe run in the Slalom and then had to watch as Lindsey Vonn, winner of the previous Super Combined on Friday attacked the course. Nikki Hosp took third behind Hoefl-Riesch and Vonn in second and Lizz Goergl took fourth. After the Super G section of the race HEAD racers had filled the top four spots.
With Vonn leading after the Super G, Hoefl-Riesch was just over two tenths behind and then came Anna Fenninger and Lizzi Goergl to give a strong HEAD World Cup Rebels presence at the top of the leaderboard at the half way stage in the race.
Goergl was the first of the leading quartet to challenge the lead of Nikki Hosp in the finish. Goergl challenged her countrywoman but was unable to better the time of Hosp and had to be content with second. Fenninger made a number of small errors on the course that was starting to show signs of deterioration.
With Hoefl-Riesch and Vonn both winners in World Cup slaloms, the race was on for the top spot. Hoefl-Riesch had an advantage of 1.81 seconds over Hosp from the Super G leg and while the lead was cut into, by the time Hoefl-Riesch crossed the line the lead was hers. Hosp had made full use of going early when the course was in good condition yet the race is won over the two legs and not just on one good run!
Vonn had just a quarter of a second to play with and while she increased her lead in the middle section of the run, on the flat section above the finish, Vonn made a small error. On such errors races are won and lost when the margins are tight. With the long run in to the finish, Vonn gave it her all but the 50th World Cup race win of her career will have to wait for another day!
Talking after the race Hoefl-Riesch was understandably happy to have scored her first win of the season, though she did not realise how close it would be: The top two racers were separated by a mere three hundredths of a second over the two runs. “This was a hard race to win as Lindsey is a strong racer just like Marlies Schild in the slalom,” explained Hoefl-Riesch.
1. Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) HEAD
2. Lindsey Vonn (USA) HEAD
3. Niki Hosp (AUT)
4. Lizzi Goergl (AUT) HEAD
10. Anja Paerson (SWE) HEAD
12. Denise Feierabend (SUI) HEAD
13. Anna Fenninger (AUT) HEAD
19. Margret Altacher (AUT) HEAD
23. Wendy Holdener (SUI) HEAD