Two days after winning the combined event, Maria Riesch enjoyed another season highlight at Are celebrating her first triumph in super-G since January 2008. The Bavarian beat her best friend and biggest rival Lindsey Vonn by the smallest possible margin of 1/100 of a second, while Vonn’s teammate Julia Mancuso got third.
Sunday’s super G was a very tight margin race, not only for the first and second place finishers Riesch and Vonn, who were way ahead of the pack, but also for the ranks 3 through 21, who were only separated by nine tenths of a second.
Riesch reached the finish in a run-time of 1:13.24, ahead only by a hair’s breadth of chief rival Vonn, who crossed the finish line in 1:13.25. The pair has finished 1-2 five times this season.
Mancuso, who took third, clocked a time of 1:14.03, whilst double world champion Elisabeth Goergl landed far behind in 21st position after a faulty run posting a time of 1:14.93, but trailing the third place only by .90 seconds.
The super G did not seem very selective despite the overcast conditions and only one competitor did not finish, which happened to be Anja Paerson, who intentionally skied off the course. The Swede was ahead of Vonn's first time-split when she experienced some problems in a left-hand turn. She stopped her run a few gates further down and laid down at the side of the slope to stretch out her leg and rub her right knee. She was seemingly injured but the severity of her injury is not yet known.
After a solid third place finish yesterday (Feb. 26) in the downhill, Riesch confirmed that she is also fast in the speed events this winter. Despite still not feeling completely healthy due to the flu that affected her at the World Championships, the skier from Garmisch-Partenkirchen secured her 14th podium finish this season. Riesch has now won races in four different disciplines; the only thing missing is a victory in giant slalom.
The two-time Olympic champion was particularly happy with her win today after two second place finishes in super-G. The German marked down her 20th World Cup victory on Sunday. “The win on Friday in super combined was important for me after the rather tough time I had at the World Championships,” Riesch commented.
“It feels great to claim first place in the super G today as my last victory in that discipline was 3 years ago! It’s my 6th victory this season. The course setting was good but I had to fight hard. It was a tough race as the visibility was not great. You really had to be determined and attack the course all the way down to the finish,” the 26-year old Riesch said. “When Anja went out, I just tried to stay focused. I couldn’t let it affect me,” she added.
It came as a surprise that Maria Riesch streched her lead atop the overall standings, 1516-1320 over American Lindsey Vonn, leaving Are with a 194 point lead. "I didn't expect (to) make up points in Are. I was hoping that I wasn't losing too much. Now I am more ahead than before Are, so this is really good for me. It's a good advantage but there (are) still nine races to go, and lots of things can happen," Riesch said.
She also scored 1516 of overall points last year, just this year there are nine events left on the calendar. Four of those are speed races, which Vonn has relied on this season as she has struggled in giant slalom and slalom races.
"It's definitely frustrating, especially at this time of the year, with the overall World Cup so tight. One hundredth is twenty points. It's looking pretty good for Maria for the overall," said Vonn, who lost ground by finishing sixth in Friday's super combined.
If Riesch continues the way she has been, she stands a fair chance to get close, equalize or even surpass Janica Kostelic’s old record of 1970 points set in 2006. The best ever total score of 2000 points goes back to Austria’s Hermann Maier achieved in March 2000.
Next week, three more competitions are planned in Tarvisio including the rescheduled super combined (cancelled Ladies' SC from Sestriere, Italy) on Friday 4 March - this time with a downhill leg, rather than a super-G. A downhill will be held on Saturday 5 March, and a super G on Sunday 6 March.
The program for Tarvisio will be as follows:
Tuesday, 01.03.2011 official arrival day
Wednesday, 02.03.2011 1st Downhill Training
Thursday, 03.03.2011 2nd Downhill Training
Friday, 04.03.2011 Super Combined, starting times 10:15 / 14:30 CET
Saturday, 05.03.2011 Downhill, starting time 10:45 CET
Sunday, 06.03.2011 Super-G, starting time 11:00 CET