It may not have been the way that she wanted to win the Downhill Globe but even before Maria Hoefl-Riesch kicked out of the start gate it was her Globe. Austrian Anna Fenninger needed to win to have a chance of taking the Globe but she could only manage … fifth place. Lizz Goergl just failed to come back from a 0.44 second deficit to take the win and placed second, just 0.05 seconds back; the race was won by Lara Gut and Fraenzi Aufdenblatten took third. Gut won the first and now the last race of the season in Fraenzi Aufdenblatten’s final race of her career.
Aufdenblatted had started early and when she reached the finish was greeted by teammates and Didier Cuche holding up a banner thanking her for the laughs. Aufdenblatten is renown for her laughter on the circuit and will be missed by many. She now will work in sports management. Having started second, it looked if she might even hold on for the win. Gut put paid to that and then Goergl bumped her down to third and her fourth career podium, including one win in 2009.
The race was all set up for a dramatic climax but with Hoefl-Riesch suffering from a fever, it was not the shoot out that the season deserved. With one eye on the race for the Overall, Hoefl-Riesch was going for the points yet a mistake just after the first split saw her slide into the netting and her race was run. Hoefl-Riesch left the hill via helicopter. With Lara Gut in the finish and leading, the shock on her mouth as the German slide into the Â netting was noticeable – none of the racers like to see the competition crash badly. ,News on Hoefl-Riesch was limited at first and first news was that it was a shoulder injury. The steepness of the slope where she crashed meant that course medics were slow in responding. Later it was announced that the result of her injuries means she will miss the remainder of the season meaning Anna Fenninger wins the Overall.
Despite three fastest split times Lizz Goergl took second place in the race with Anna Fenninger taking sixth place to move into an eleven point lead in the race for the Overall. After the race Fenninger said: “Not winning the downhill globe today isn’t bad, 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.” Goergl was happy with her place on the podium. “It was so cool to ski,â€ she said referring to the course, the first time the Men and Women had raced the same course. Goergl also put to bed rumours that she was going to quit: “It goes on, yes, there are still things where I can develop myself.”
Julia Mancuso finished tenth and said after the race: â€œLast downhill of the season and you just really have to go for it. Itâ€™s a really tough course,â€ said Mancuso. â€œItâ€™s a fun hill. I like it. â€¦ Thereâ€™s definitely room for improvement (in my downhill season), so Iâ€™m just going to keep working to improve and hopefully next year will be going better. I just had a lot of things going on with equipment, and that always gets into your head, especially when itâ€™s an important year to be in top form.â€
Picture: Maria Hoefl-Riesch being helicoptered off after crashing in Lenzerheide. Credit ZOOM AGENCE