Hoefl-Riesch eyes home town World Cup ski win
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (AFP) –
Local favourite Maria Hoefl-Riesch will be looking for her first win since 2010 on her home town’s Kandahar course when the World Cup comes to Garmisch-Partenkirchen this weekend.
Three women’s races are being held — with a super-G on both Friday and Sunday, as well as Saturday’s downhill — and conditions are near perfect as the Bavarian town celebrates its 60th anniversary of racing on the Kandahar.
Slovenia’s Tina Maze has already been confirmed as this season’s overall World Cup winner after last weekend’s super-combined in Meribel left her with an unassailable lead atop the standings with nine events still to race.
Maze, 29, has now amassed 1,844 points, meaning she cannot be caught by her closest rival, Hoefl-Riesch, who has 886 points.
The 28-year-old German got close to her first downhill victory of the season last Saturday with second in Meribel.
Maze, the world super-G champion, was fastest in Thursday’s final training, clocking 1min 40.42sec down the 3km-long course with Italy’s Daniela Merighetti second at 0.26sec and Austria’s Regina Sterz third fastest at 0.29sec.
The Slovenian is 101 points behind injured USA star Lindsey Vonn, who is out for the season with a knee injury, and has a chance to close the gap further.
“The conditions were good,” said Maze.
“It’s really important to build up as much speed as possible in the top and flat section and to keep the momentum all the way to the end.”
Hoefl-Riesch was seventh fastest as she made a few adjustments having been second quickest in Wednesday’s training.
“Winning my first downhill this year in front of a home crowd would be fantastic. I would be satisfied with a podium spot though,” she said.
March 2010 was the German’s last downhill victory in her home town, but she has finished on the podium here four times since, most recently when she took downhill bronze at the 2011 world championships.
Traditionally a tough, icy course, the Kandahar also earned rave reviews from USA star Julia Mancuso, eighth fastest in Thursday’s training, who won world silver here in 2011.
“It’s so nice to ski on such a smooth and well prepared slope, it’s like a different hill,” she said having won world super-G bronze in Schladming earlier this month.