Vonn triple thwarted by Hoefl-Riesch

ST Moritz (Switzerland): World Cup holder Maria Hoefl-Riesch took her first victory of the Alpine ski season in a women`s super-combined on Sunday to deny Lindsey Vonn a triple triumph and 50th career win.

The Olympic champion was second fastest in the morning Super-G section behind World Cup leader Vonn and beat the American by a slim 0.03 seconds after the slalom with a combined winning time of two minutes and 8.41 seconds.

Austria`s Nicole Hosp was third, the same as in the previous super-combined held on the same piste on Friday.

Hosp, the 2007 World Cup winner, was fastest in the slalom and finished 0.48 behind Vonn who had won Friday`s super-combined and Saturday`s downhill in St. Moritz.

"I`m really glad. Victory is even sweeter when you have been waiting for it. It`s been a tough time for me. I`ve been criticised, questioned," said Hoefl-Riesch.

"But since I took a break in Bad Kleinkirchheim, things have been improving. I was mad after Friday`s super combined but yesterday`s downhill restored my confidence," added the German.

Hoefl-Riesch had squandered her chances in Friday`s super-combined with a huge mistake in the slalom section but finished a morale-boosting second in Saturday`s downhill on the same course.

"I was lucky that they changed the spot of the slalom today as the snow was softer, with a better grip and I could give it my all," she said.

The German, who has moved to Kitzbuehel since her marriage last year, will return to the familiar surroundings of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in her native Bavaria next weekend with far less pressure.

Vonn felt the hat-trick of wins had slipped away in the morning`s super-G run.

"I tried as hard as I could. I would have loved to celebrate my 50th World Cup win here in St Moritz. But victory is not as easy as it seems. I had to ski five hard-fought runs in three days and it`s exhausting," she said.

"Hopefully, I will get that 50th win in Maria`s home in Garmisch.

"My skiing was good, my concentration was good, but a series of small mistakes cost me much time. I cut my edges funny a couple of times," added Vonn, who has a lead of 387 points in the overall World Cup standings over Slovenia`s Tina Maze.

Hoefl-Riesch is third overall and 554 points behind Vonn.

Bureau Report