Winter sports blog: Tina Maze claims third straight podium in St Moritz
Andrew Magee brings us the latest news and views from the snow and ice on the winter sports circuit
It’s that time of year again. Chestnuts are roasting on open fires, Jack Frost is nipping noses and the British transport system is braced for its annual battle with the white stuff. But that also means one thing. Winter sport is back.
Welcome to The Sport Review winter blog featuring the best of the action from the snow and ice. Not to be affected by second season syndrome, the blog (albeit belatedly) is back to give you the latest news and views from around the world. So strap on your boots, grab your goggles and let’s hit the slopes.
We kick things off with news from the slopes in St. Moritz where Slovenian Tina Maze claimed her third straight podium of the weekend last Sunday in the women’s Giant Slalom. This followed up her second-place finish in Saturday’s Super G and a win in the Super Combined event on Friday. Adding further to early season wins at Soelden and Aspen, it’s no surprise to see her storm to the top of the overall leader board with 677 points. German Maria Hoefl-Riesch sits second on 443 and America star Lindsey Vonn is third on 414.
Last month, Vonn was denied permission to race alongside the men in World Cup Events after the International Ski Federation rejected her request. FIS secretary general Sarah Lewis did not mince her words when she told The Associated Press: “It’s called the Men’s World Cup and the Ladies’ World Cup. The men race the Men’s World Cup and the ladies race the Ladies’ World Cup. FIS and World Cup points are not transferrable from one circuit to another.”
Insult was added to injury somewhat when they said Vonn would be welcome to request to be a forerunner – read track test dummy – for the men. But the decision has barely knocked her off her stride. The dominant American has already won both downhill races this season across the pond at Lake Louise and Beaver Creek and will be fully expecting another win up at the next race in Val d’Isere this Saturday.
On the Men’s tour, Marcel Hirscher won his first race of the season in Sunday’s Giant Slalom at Val d’Isere, his combined time more than a second quicker than second-placed Stefan Luitz. The Austrian’s win takes him up to third in the men’s overall standings behind Ted Ligety in second and Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal who tops the table on 440 points. Svindal has won twice already this season – in the Downhill and Super G at Lake Louise – to take him to the top of the standings. But a GS win at Beaver Creek and third place in Val d’Isere has seen American Ligety close the gap in recent weeks.
Visit the blog next week for news of races in Val d’Isere and a personal favourite venue of mine, Val Gardena in the Dolomites.