Czech champion wins her first World Cup slalom

Sarka Zahrobska, 22, the reigning slalom world champion who had never won a World Cup race, defied gusting winds to triumph in the second slalom of the season in Aspen, Colorado.


(AFP) Czech Sarka Zahrobska claimed the first World Cup victory of her career Sunday, defying gusting winds here to triumph in the second slalom of the season.

Austrian Nicole Hosp, slightly injured in a crash in Saturday's giant slalom, salvaged her weekend with a second-place finish ahead of Finland's Tanja Poutiainen.

Zahrobska, leading after the first leg, won with a combined time of 1min 39.32sec.

She was 23 one-hundredths of a second ahead of Hosp and almost a second ahead of Poutiainen.

Zahrobska, 22, is the reigning slalom world champion, but had never won a World Cup race. She had reached the podium five times before capturing her first Cup win here.

"This victory is important for me because I've never had success here. I've always had trouble," Zahrobska said.

Poutiainen, who earned her third podium finish in four races this season, remained atop the overall standings ahead of American Lindsey Vonn, who finished fourth.

Vonn, who won the first slalom of the season at Levi, Finland, remained atop the standings in the discipline.

Hosp started Sunday's race despite straining a leg muscle on Saturday.

Fourth after the first leg, she notched the fastest time of the second leg to earn her podium place.

"I can't believe it," said Hosp, who admitted she found it hard to relax racing with an injury. "I was always thinking about my injury, I didn't feel free."

Her performance, just a day after she limped off the same hill, was all the more remarkable given the treacherous conditions.

The strong winds, gusting more than 50mph, forced a delay of the first leg as officials put a marker back in place.

They continued to make for tough going with poor visibility in the second leg.

The women will be hoping for better racing weather when they travel now to Lake Louise, Canada, where two downhills and a super-G are scheduled from Friday.

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