Maiden win for Kaufmann-Abderhalden in Val d’Isère
VAL d'ISERE, France - Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden came of age in Val d'Isere to earn her maiden World Cup victory and surprise the favourites on the piste on Saturday.
The 27-year-old Swiss, who had considered giving up skiing a couple years ago, already showed promising signs after finishing second in Lake Louise two weeks ago, but she was the only one this time to fully master the tricky middle section of the slope to win in 1:47.28. It was only the fourth World Cup podium for the all-rounder from Grabs, who was downhill junior world champion in Quebec in 2006.
"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,"
Of all the big names at the start, World Cup champion Tina Maze was the only one to fully deliver, finishing second 0.29 seconds adrift on a sunny day at La Daille. It was the Slovenian's best result this season after two third places in Levi and St Moritz and a sign that the big globe holder is improving steadily.
Third place on a surprise podium was up-and-coming Austrian Cornelia Huetter, who made the best of starting with the number one bib on her back. At 21, the promising skier from Kumberg earned her very first podium placing, two weeks after her first top ten spot in Lake Louise.
All eyes at the start were on Lindsey Vonn, back in action after skipping the St Moritz weekend to treat her ailing knee. But the American downhill Olympic champion, missed a gate halfway down and said her injury had hampered her again.
"It was a small compression, and it was fully loaded on the right ski and my knee just completely gave out. I didn't hurt myself more than I'm already hurt," she said.
Liechtenstein's Tina Weirather's fourth place finish today helped her take the overall World Cup lead with 495 points. But it is a very tight battle with Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch - in the top 10 on the piste for the first time in 9th place -, who lies second five points behind while Swiss Lara Gut is a close third on 488, after a disappointing 25th place today.
The race was stopped a number of times due to skiers falling, the most seriously injured being France's Marie Marchand-Arvier, who was carried away on a stretcher with a bruised shoulder.
The show goes on in Val d'Isere with a giant slalom race tomorrow. The first run starts at 10:30 and second run is at 13:30 CET
<p><a href="http://data.fis-ski.com/dynamic/results.html?sector=AL&raceid=75146">Here </a>are the full results of the day. </p>
Here are the full results of the day.