Marlies Schild delighted her home crowd by clocking the fastest times in both legs at the Lienz slalom event, picking up a World Cup victory. The local hero was almost two seconds ahead of second-placed Sandrine Aubert.
REUTERS - Austria's Marlies Schild won the women's slalom in Lienz on Tuesday to pick up her first World Cup victory since returning from a one-season injury break.
Once the undisputed queen of the discipline, the 2007 and 2008 slalom World Cup champion smashed the opposition by winning both runs in impressive fashion to seal victory with a combined time of one minute and 57.65 seconds.
"It was a dream race, possibly the greatest in my career. I'm so happy, it's now time to thank all the people who have supported me in the last 15 months," Schild told reporters.
"This makes me forget all the painful days that were still with me when the season started."
Schild, who broke her leg in October 2008 in training for the season opener in Soelden, gave Austria only their second victory of the season, beating France's Sandrine Aubert by a huge 1.83 seconds.
The win was all the more spectacular as the in-form Aubert had won the previous slalom of the season two weeks ago in Are.
Austrian Kathrin Zettel came third, 2.19 adrift, to record her fifth podium of the season.
Finn Tanja Poutiainen, back in action in Lienz after missing the races in Are with a back injury, was third after the first run but broke a pole in the afternoon leg and slid down the rankings.
Fourth place went to Slovenian all-rounder Tina Maze, the first time in her long career that she finished in the top 10 in a slalom.
It was Schild's 21st World Cup victory, her 19th in her favourite event, and her second in Lienz where she won four years ago.
Her last victory dated back to March 14, 2008, at the World Cup finals in Bormio.
Back on the World Cup circuit this season, the girlfriend of Austrian team leader Benjamin Raich needed only three races to make it back to the top. She finished sixth in Levi in November and second in Aspen.
World Cup overall leader Lindsey Vonn, injured in a crash in Monday's giant slalom, raced with a splint strapped to her left hand.
The American finished 18th which was enough for her to retain the overall World Cup lead as her nearest rival, Germany's Maria Riesch was 14th.
The women's circuit next moves to Zagreb for a floodlit evening slalom, a race Schild won in 2006 and 2007.
Date created : 2009-12-29