on December 1, 2008 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Zahrobska sheds one-win wonder tag in Aspen

ASPEN, Colorado (Reuters) – World champion Sarka Zahrobska set the record straight when she beat a strong field and testing winds to win her first World Cup slalom in Aspen on Sunday.

Her gold medal at the 2007 world championships in Are was the 23-year-old Czech’s only top level win thus far as she had to be content with five podium placings in the World Cup.

Victory came at last in the worst possible conditions, with wind sweeping the piste, disturbing skiers and forcing organizers to halt the race in the morning run.

Zahrobska’s victory in a combined time of one minute 39.32 seconds was all the more significant as she beat two of the most consistent skiers on the World Cup circuit.

Austria’s Nicole Hosp, the 2007 overall World Cup winner, was second, 0.23 seconds off the pace, while Finn Tanja Poutiainen was third, 0.97 adrift.

Ninth after the first leg, Lindsey Vonn handled the windy conditions better than most in the afternoon to shoot into fourth place.

The American World Cup holder, winner in Levi two weeks ago, confirmed her remarkable progression in slaloms with her second run performance.

Poutiainen’s consistency kept her at the top of the overall World Cup standings on 260 points but Vonn, by far the best active downhill specialist, is second on 229 points even before the first downhill of the season, next week in Lake Louise.

“It’s a great day for me and for my country,” said Zahrobska after only the fourth World Cup victory by the Czech Republic.

“It was important to confirm that my gold medal was not an isolated win and it’s all the better as I did not feel so well today; I was very surprised to find myself in the lead after the first run,” she added.

With three podium spots in four races, Poutiainen is as solid as ever, but the Finn said she did not expect to keep her World Cup lead for long.

“It’s a great honor to have the red jumper on my back but the speed events are coming and Lindsey will claim it back very soon,” she said.

Vonn herself had mixed feelings about her race.

“After my victory in Levi, I would have loved to do it again in front of my home crowd.

“But you can’t complain about a fourth place in a slalom especially after my injury,” said the American, who was doubtful for the Aspen weekend because of a knee strain. (Editing by Francois Thomazeau and Miles Evans)