March 15, 2007
LENZEREIDE, SWITZERLAND - (USST News Bureau Release) - Austrian Marlies Schild took a big step Thursday toward clinching the World Cup overall title, finishing third - but ahead of her main challengers - in the last super G of the season. Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) moved back into third place overall as she finished seventh behind world champion Anja Paerson of Sweden, who won the race.
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Paerson, who claimed SG gold at the World Championships in Sweden last month, won with a time of 1:20.16. Austrian Andreas Fischbacher was second (1:20.83) and Schild third at 1:21.09. Austrian teammate Nicole Hosp was fifth and Mancuso seventh with Renate Goetschl, another Austrian, failing to finish.
With two races - slalom Saturday and giant slalom Sunday - remaining, the World Cup slalom champion has 1,442 points to 1,372 for Hosp and 1,332 for Mancusco. Goetschl, who doesn't ski slalom, is a distant fourth at 1,300. Mancuso is the current Olympic GS champion but SL is her weakest event.
Title slipping away?
"I don't really think there's a chance to win it any more, but I can definitely hang in there," the Californian conceded in the finish area. Strong speed results - in Wednesday's downhill where she was fifth and Thursday SG - would have kept her more in the title hunt, she said. "Downhill didn't go my way and super G didn't, either."
Skiing from the end of the start list made it tough as the snow conditions began to wilt in the hot sun. "Today showed again it was tough to put in a good one," Mancuso said, noting only Hosp broke into the top five from the back of the pack.
U.S. Coach Alex Hoedlmoser said several skiers, including Mancuso, skied over a rock, which broke through the snow at the top of the course. Goetschl stopped after going over it and Canadian Britt Janyk also stopped after ripping an edge of her skis when she struck the rock, he said.
"It was a little tricky at the top, and we don't know how much it affected Julia's skiing, but she went over it and her skis were chattering all the way down. She skied the middle section pretty well, but that couldn't have helped her," Hoedlmoser said.
Heavy traffic, warm sun pummel speed run
He said the course - the same as the men raced on earlier in the morning - held up early "and then, all of a sudden, there's just a time when sections of it go soft. It's very warm during the days, freezes at night and it's hard...and they've done a good job preparing it, but this morning it was around No. 18 where it got soft in sections." Schild skied eighth, Paerson 13th, Janyk 20th, Mancuso 21st, Hosp 22nd and Goetschl 23rd.
Hoedlmoser said Mancuso would take a day off Friday when the team event is held with men and women racing four runs, two in super G and two in slalom. Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, WY) and Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA) will ski the super G while Stiegler and Kaylin Richardson (Edina, MN) will race SL.
Goetschl took both the downhill and SG titles; Mancuso finished second in DH and fourth with Lindsey Kildow -Vail, CO, who is rehabbing a knee injury and not racing in Lenzerheide, in second in SG and third in downhill. Kildow also took the silver medal in both speed disciplines at the World Championships.