Riesch claims World Cup slalom title

Updated: March 7, 2009, 12:20 PM ET
Associated Press

OFTERSCHWANG, Germany -- Lindsey Vonn clipped a gate during the slalom, missing a chance to clinch the overall title, and Sandrine Aubert of France won her first World Cup race on Saturday.

Vonn, the first-run leader, still takes a big lead into next week's World Cup finals in Are, Sweden. Vonn is seeking to become the first American woman to win the prestigious overall title twice.

"I'm really looking forward to Are," Vonn said. "In the past, it's been a good hill for me. Hopefully, I'll have a solid downhill performance and have enough points to get the overall title then, so it's not weighing too heavily on my mind."

Aubert won in a combined time of 1 minute, 46.28 seconds. Frida Hansdotter of Sweden was second in 1:46.71 for her best career finish and Nicole Hosp of Austria took third.

Maria Riesch of Germany won the overall slalom title by finishing fifth.

Vonn, who needed to finish ahead of Riesch to collect her second consecutive overall title, clipped a gate with her right ski at the bottom of the second run. Vonn leads Riesch overall by 369 points, with four races remaining -- and 400 points at stake.

Riesch, the world champion, has won four of eight slaloms this season.

"I wanted this title and now I got it," said Riesch, Vonn's best friend on the circuit. "It's a pity for Lindsey, but she can console herself with so many other titles this winter, she can leave me the slalom."

Riesch became the first German slalom winner since Rosi Mittermeier in 1976.

Heavy snowfall over the past two days let up during the second run. U.S. coach Trevor Wagner said the changing conditions may have led to Vonn's mishap.

"When you run 30th on the second run in these warmer conditions in the wet snow you get a shelf at the gates and the inside ski just grabs on that, and that's how she straddled the gate," Wagner said.

Kathrin Zettel of Austria, who won the slalom Friday on the same slope, was second after the first heat but also clipped a gate and did not finish. Anja Paerson of Sweden, who was fourth after the first run, also did not finish.

Hailey Duke of Boise, Idaho, was 17th.

Tamara McKinney of the United States won the overall title in 1983. Vonn made history last month by winning the 19th World Cup race of her career to move past McKinney for the U.S. women's record.

Last week, Vonn clinched her second straight downhill title and last month won the super-G and downhill titles at the world championships.

She has been racing with a specially designed splint after having surgery to repair a tendon in her right thumb, which was severed on a broken champagne bottle during a celebration of her second world title.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press