A big Spanish Smile on top of the DH podium in Méribel!
Méribel, France - Only five previous ladies' World Cup races have been held in Méribel, and none since 1994. 19 years later, everything was done to host the World Cup Tour the best way possible. The snow and weather conditions were perfect today again allowing the ladies to have a fun and fair battle for victory on the “Roc de Fer” Downhill piste. Starting with bib 28, Spain’s Carolina Ruiz Castillo was the fastest to cross the finish line, mastering the 2355 meter long course. She recorded a time of 1:42.56 to edge out Maria Hoefl-Riesch, who was 0.20 seconds slower. Rounding out the podium Marie Marchand-Arvier missed the 2nd place for a mere 0.01 seconds.
13 years! That is how long Carolina Ruiz Castillo had to wait to climb onto the podium again and this time on top! In 2000 and at the age of 18, she actually finished 2nd of the Giant Slalom in Sestrière.
“So far it’s been my best season and I’m incredibly happy about what happened today”, said the 31-year-old racer.
“But I have to say that nothing has suddenly changed in my life to make me win today. This is the result of a lot of work and the collaboration with the French team. I’ve been training as a full member of their team for a year now and it’s paying off. Sharing the successes of my French team mates at the World Championships was really inspiring. I already knew I could be as fast as them or even faster sometimes in trainings and found the opportunity to show it today.”
With a bronze medal earned in the Downhill at Schladming, Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch came to Meribel with the confidence that she had been lacking a bit before the World Championships. The second place today is her best result of the season in Downhill. “My run today was definitely better than yesterday in training. Most of my turns went pretty well”, she admitted.
“It’s a really good result, if I look at my season that has been very up and down. I would have liked to win of course, but I am really happy to see Carolina winning today and to be honest with such a small margin over Marie and Tina Maze, I can say I’m lucky to be second.”
The crowd was probably expecting the fresh World Champion Marion Rolland to climb onto the podium. The French racer put a good run together but not solid enough and ended 10th. However her team mate Marie Marchand-Arvier was faster today and managed to get her 1st podium of the season, her 5th in her World Cup career.
“The piste was like a boulevard, so well prepared and so much fun to ski on”, she said.
“The last 2 months have been difficult for me. Being back on the podium is a relief and gives me a lot of motivation for the rest of the season. The ambition is back. I remember now why I get up every day to train so hard. I’m also so happy to see my friend and now team mate Carolina to get her first career victory.”
Tina Maze, who is still lacking a Downhill victory this season, got really close to her 18th podium in 2012/13, taking 4th place, 0.28 seconds behind. This allows her to overtake Stacey Cook, who made a mistake and only took 27th, in the Downhill standings. She is now second, 101 points behind Lindsey Vonn. She continues her quest for the 2000 points and won’t be happy to leave Meribel without a podium spot.
This promises us another incredible race tomorrow. The first run of the Super-Combined is scheduled for 11:00 CET!
Here are the full results of the day!