Riesch believes she’s too far behind Vail’s Vonn
Associated Press Writer
MARIBOR, Slovenia – Maria Riesch feels as if her shot at winning the women’s World Cup overall title has already passed even with eight weeks still left in the season.
The German trails defending champion Lindsey Vonn, of Vail, by 112 points, which wouldn’t seem to be insurmountable with 15 races still to go.
But after this weekend’s technical events on the Poherje course, speed races – where the American has been untouchable this season – are coming up in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, and St. Moritz, Switzerland.
“It’s going to be very, very difficult if you look at the remaining schedule,” said Riesch despite having reduced her deficit by 80 points in Tuesday’s night slalom in Flachau, Austria.
“There is not much calculating needed to see that it’s almost impossible for me (to win), especially the way Lindsey is racing at the moment,” the defending World Cup slalom champion said. “I have been lacking of coolness and consistency recently.”
Vonn went out at Flachau when she straddled a gate and lost a ski in the opening run. The American, still hampered by a bruised left lower arm, crashed again in a slalom training run in Austria two days later but wasn’t hurt.
“Training went pretty well today except for another hard crash in slalom,” Vonn wrote on her Facebook page Thursday. “I’m OK but I’ll definitely be sore tomorrow! I’d be great if I could stop crashing in the technical events.”
The Golden Fox races in Maribor consist of a giant slalom on Saturday and a slalom on Sunday, the last prior to next month’s Vancouver Olympics.
With just two slaloms left on the World Cup schedule, Riesch leads the discipline standings with 373 points. Marlies Schild of Austria is 53 points behind in second and Sandrine Aubert is another four points back in third.
Schild has won two events – in Lienz and Flachau – after missing the entire previous season with a broken leg.
“Great if I could get that globe,” said Schild, referring to the crystal award for the season’s best slalom racer. “But it’s not my main goal this season. I want to take a good feeling for the Olympics from Maribor with me.”
Schild won bronze in slalom at the 2006 Turin Olympics and is looking for an even better result in Vancouver.
The battle for the World Cup GS championship is wide open as well ahead of Saturday’s race. After five of eight events, German world champion Kathrin Hoelzl leads the standings with 281 points. Kathrin Zettel
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