Hoefl-Riesch storms to win under the lights in Levi
Maria Hoefl-Riesch powered to her first win of the season under the lights north of the artic circle. Hoefl-Riesch, who last won in Levi in 2009, was second after the fist run but skied a near flawless second run to overcome Finland’s Tanja Poutiainen to take the win with Mikaela Shiffrin in third. The race in Levi, while not a night race, takes place entirely under lights giving it a unique atmosphere.
Talking after the race, HEAD World Cup rebel Maria Hoefl-Riesch said: “It’s always good to start the season with a victory. The first race in Soelden was not easy; I was recovering from a bad flue so this is a much better start. I am almost 28 now and even though I might be counted among the older crew, especially if compared to Mikaela, but I sure feel I have a lot more to give and am looking forward to the next races.”
While Hoefl-Riesch lost a little on the top section, it was down the steep and onto the flat section leading into the finish that she gave the rest a master class. By the time she crossed the finish line, the German was almost three quarters of a second ahead of Shiffrin. Poutiainen, waiting in the start as the first run leader, knew that she would have to go some to stay in the lead. Despite the home crowd willing her on, a mistake on the pitch by the Fin saw her lead ebb away and by the time she crossed the line, Poutiainen was over half a second behind Hoefl-Riesch.
With both Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso deciding to skip the race to prepare for the North American leg of the World Cup tour, this was a chance for some of the rising stars of the HEAD World Cup rebels team to make a name for themselves: Swiss racer Wendy Holdener (11th) and Sweden’s Anna Swenn-Larssen (7th) both recorded their best World Cup results of their short careers under the lights.
This was the third time that Hoefl-Riesch has won in Levi and with her second run being the fastest of all, she has shown that she is back to her best and looking to recapture the Overall Globe she won two seasons ago.
Next stop the HEAD World Cup Rebel girls are the tech races in Aspen, America.
1. Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) HEAD
2. Tanja Poutiainen (FIN)
3. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA)
7. Anna Swenn-Larssen (SWE) HEAD
11. Wendy Holdener (SUI) HEAD
25. Anne-Sophie Barthet (FRA) HEAD
26. Carmen Thalmann (AUT) HEAD