Schild Wins Slalom, Kostelic Regains Lead
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Marlies Schild led a 1-2 Austrian finish in a slalom race, and Janica Kostelic was third Thursday to regain the World Cup overall lead.
Schild covered the Schlossberg marathon course in a two-run time of 1 minute, 57.92 seconds, a whopping 1.02 seconds ahead of teammate Nicole Hosp. Kostelic was timed in 1:59.65.
"I was really surprised to win with such a large margin," Schild said after posting the fastest times in both runs and getting her fifth career World Cup victory. "I didn't feel so good on the course and it was tough work."
American Kristina Koznick finished fourth in 1:59.81. Lindsey Kildow led the rest of the Americans with a finish of eighth. Sarah Schleper tied for 13th, Julia Mancuso was 15th, Lauren Ross 23rd and Resi Stiegler 26th.
Triple Olympic champion Kostelic of Croatia, who said she woke up feeling weak and ill, took both the overall and slalom points leads from Anja Paerson of Sweden.
Paerson, who won Wednesday's giant slalom, slid out on the fall-away in the opening leg. It was the first time in almost a year that she has failed to qualify for the second run of a World Cup slalom.
Paerson also broke one of her best skis, with which she won the season's first two slalom races, in Aspen, Colo., and Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic.
Kostelic leads the overall with 592 points. Paerson dropped to second with 540.
Paerson, who defeated Kostelic for last season's overall title by three points, was not upset by her losses in the standings.
"My goal is the Olympics this year," she said. "I'm not chasing points for the World Cup title, so I am risking everything, trying to go for it all the time, to win races so I can do it in Turin."
Kostelic also tops the slalom table with 220 points. Paerson is second with 200 and Schild third with 160.
It was the first time Austrian women have taken the top two spots in a slalom on home snow and the team's third victory of the season.
"When you see the Austrians leading at home it kind of hurts," Paerson told The Associated Press. "I'm going to come back in Zagreb and push for it."
The women next race Jan. 5 in Zagreb, Croatia.
Austrian Kathrin Zettel was fifth.
Defending slalom champion Tanja Poutiainen was sixth. The Finn, also the defending giant slalom champion, has struggled in both events this season, with no finishes better than sixth after she dominated the slalom and won the title last season by late January.
Michaela Kirchgasser of Austria tore ligaments in her left ankle after crashing on the final pitch in the first run. The team said her ankle was already vulnerable after a training crash in New Zealand in August.