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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, January 17, 2010

Skiing: Zettel wins World Cup slalom in Slovenia

Associated Press Writer

MARIBOR, Slovenia Kathrin Zettel of Austria has won a women's World Cup slalom for her second victory in as many days, and Maria Riesch of Germany took the overall lead from Lindsey Vonn by finishing third.

Zettel went down the Radvanje course in a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 42.98 seconds to beat Tina Maze by 0.71 seconds. The Slovenian posted the fastest second-run time to jump from ninth.

Riesch finished 1.28 seconds back, while Vonn failed to qualify for the final run. Riesch leads the American by 28 points with 13 races left.

"It's nice to be the leader but there a a lot of speed races left and Lindsey will be hard to beat again," Riesch said.

Vonn struggled throughout the first leg, losing the ideal line several times and never threatening to equal the pace of the leaders. She finished 4.55 seconds back in 46th place.

Vonn has now failed to score points in three straight races. She crashed in Tuesday's night slalom in Flachau, Austria, and in Saturday's GS in Maribor.

Vonn won three straight speed events last weekend, but has been struggling in technical events since hurting her left arm in a crash at last month's giant slalom in Lienz, Austria.

It was the first slalom title and eighth overall World Cup victory for the Zettel, who also won Saturday's giant slalom.

"I don't know what to say. I couldn't believe I was No. 1 after the second run," said Zettel, who has nine podium finishes so far this season. "For me, it's an indescribable feeling."

The Austrian missed two months of offseason training due to a knee injury.

"Just unbelievable, if you see my results now. It's wonderful," said Zettel, who earned the Golden Fox trophy as the best skier of the weekend. "I've always been dreaming about winning a slalom and now I've done it."

Marlies Schild of Austria, who led Zettel by more than a second after the opening leg, straddled a gate in the lower part of her second run.

Riesch also tops the slalom standings. She leads Zettel by 23 points with only one World Cup slalom left, the season-ending event in March at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.