It has been a storming first half of the season for HEAD World Cup Rebel, Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden, as she took second place in Lake Louise and now has won her first World Cup race in the Downhill in Val d’Isere. In a race punctuated by a number of crashes, Kaufmann-Abderhalden pushed it to the limit to win from Tina Maze and Cornelia Huetter.
The OK course used for the women’s downhill in Val d’Isere is a gnarly course: Some big jumps and many small ripples across the course putting pressure on the girl’s knees and legs. Much of the pre-race attention focused on the return to action of Lindsey Vonn; Vonn pulled up midway down the course after getting thrown around and bounced off the course.
After the race she said: “I’m going to stick to a similar plan that I was on before, just need to be more careful of how many races I do. I’m at risk of doing more damage to my knee and my meniscus. So I’m going to play it safe and race really minimal races. Probably one or two before the Olympics.”
Kaufmann-Abderhalden produced a great run that saw her put the platform for her win at the top, keep the speed high in the middle and then kept it safe to the bottom. “I really don’t know why it started going well in Lake Louise. Here I expected more because it’s like a second home for the Swiss, but I certainly did not expect to win,” said the girl who came close to quitting a few years back.
Kajsa Kling continued her great run of form in taking eighth place from a start number of 35, just ahead of Maria Hoefl-Riesch, Lizz Goergl and Anna Fenninger in places nine to eleven.
Anna Fenninger had the misfortune to be held in the gate after the course was rebuilt following the crash of the previous racer: "The break was very bad for me. It took me completely out of focus. Moreover, the track is slower by the racer. I have also made mistakes, that was not good today,"
Maria Hoefl-Riesch held on to her second place in the race for the Overall just behind Tina Weirather and ahead of Lara Gut, seven points separating the three racers.
1. Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden (SUI) HEAD
2. Tina Maze (SLO)
3. Cornelia Huetter (AUT)
8. Kajsa Kling (SWE) HEAD
9. Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) HEAD
10. Lizz Goergl (AUT) HEAD
11. Anna Fenninger (AUT) HEAD
21. Julia Mancuso (USA) HEAD