The good and the bad for Hoefl-Riesch
Lenzerheide, Switzerland - It wasn’t the season ending downhill race that Maria Hoefl-Resich hoped for today in Lenzerheide (SUI) as she crashed on the final downhill outing of the season, but there was a silver lining for the German as she still claimed the downhill season title and discipline globe.
There was no immediate word on Hoefl-Riesch’s condition after the crash. Her inner ski got away from her and she went off the course into the safety netting. Hoefl-Riesch was not at the awards ceremony to pick up her globe and no update on her condition was immediately available beyond Austrian television citing the possibility of a shoulder injury. She was taken to hospital in Chur for further examination.
Lara Gut (SUI) gave the home fans reason to cheer as she won the race by a slim 0.05 margin over Austria’s Elisabeth Georgl.
"To win the first and the last downhills of the season is just amazing, especially here in Swziterland," said Gut. "Last year I only won one race and this year six. That is a good step forward and I'm really happy about it."
It was a dramatic finish under perfect blue skies in Lenzerheide as Hoefl-Riesch was the last racer down the course, setting up the unexpected finish. Hoefl-Riesch’s DNF makes the fight for the Overall Title particularly interesting now assuming she is healthy after today’s race. It is a dog fight between the German and Austria’s Anna Fenninger for the Big Globe. Fenninger reclaimed the lead in the overall standings thanks to her sixth-place finish today. She now leads Hoefl-Reish by a very tight 11 points.
"Not winning the downhill globe today isn't bad," said Fenninger. "I had to win the race to have a chance, but my run wasn't perfect anyway. I am happy about the second place but above all I really hope Maria is ok and wish her she can race with us tomorrow."
Switzerland’s Fraenzi Aufdenblatten, who announced her retirement earlier in the season, was the charming Cinderella story of the day. After coming down the course as Bib #2, she stayed in the leader’s box until Gut took the lead 16 racers later. She ended her career on the podium in third place, giving the 33 year-old a good send off for her career.
The final standings in the ladies’ downhill for the season closed with Hoefl-Riesch winning with 504 points ahead of Fenninger, who was 40 points off the mark. Taking the third spot in the season standings was Tina Maze (SLO) with 409 points.
The women will be back in action in Lenzerheide tomorrow in the Super-G season final, which begins at 11:30 CET.
Here are the full results.