“When I came through the finish in the lead, I really did not know if it was good enough,” Maria Hoefl-Riesch explained after winning the Super Combined in Schladming. Being fifth last to go of the fastest racers, Hoefl-Riesch used her impressive slalom skills to make sure that the HEAD World Cup Rebels gold rush continued. Not only did she move into the lead, but Hoefl-Riesch also put in the second fastest slalom time to move ahead of Tina Maze and Niki Hosp on the podium.
After the downhill section of the Super Combined, Anna Fenninger, the defending champion was the joint leader with Maze. Lizz Goergl was five hundredths behind in third and Maria Hoefl-Riesch was two tenths back in joint fourth place. It was tight.
“It was an advantage for me to go first of the leaders on the second run,” Hoefl-Riesch explained after the race, “as I was able to put in a full attacking run.” Yet with Tina Maze still to go, Hoefl-Riesch did not feel that she had done enough to win. “Sure a medal, but not gold!” she said afterwards was what she thought she would achieve.
After having skied out of the last two World Cup slaloms, Hoefl-Riesch admitted to being nervous before the slalom run and felt that she was too conservative at the top.
For defending Champion, Anna Fenninger, after having put in a great Downhill section to be the joint leader, she had the misfortune to straddle at the top of the slalom: “These things happen,” she reflected. Lizz Goergl was happy with her Downhill run and put in a solid slalom section to finish sixth, two places ahead of Julia Mancuso.
"I was really surprised that I could beat Tina today in slalom. This makes me very proud," explained the new Super Combined World Champion after the race. This was a result that will turn her season around after she admitted she has struggled to get her head in the right place.
GOLD: Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) HEAD
Silver: Tina Maze (SLO)
Bronze: Niki Hosp (AUT)
6. Lizz Goergl (AUT) HEAD
8. Julia Mancuso (USA) HEAD
14. Marianne Kaufmann-Abderholden (SUI) HEAD
16. Anne-Sophie Barthet (FRA) HEAD
21. Elena Yakovishina (RUS) HEAD
24. Anastasia Kedrina (RUS) HEAD
28. Maria Bedareva (RUS) HEAD