Soelden as expected for the ladies: Next up for GS is Aspen

Posted By: The Ski Channel on October 24, 2009 8:02 am

To be fair, you can never really expect anything but excitement from a World Cup ski race. Anything can happen. But there are also some favorites and at the Soelden World Cup opener, Finnish Ski Team veteran Tanja Poutiainen was one of them.

The friendly and well-spoken Finn added another gold medal to her growing list of World Cup wins today, and has now won nine World Cup races. Poutiainen was sitting in third after the first run but held tight as other women struggled on fading course conditions during the second run. Poutiainen used her characteristic strength and determiniation to pull ahead of Austrian favorite Kathrin Zettel, to take the Soelden win. “This is a dream start to the season,” Poutiainen told the press.

Last season, Poutiainen was second on the Rettenbach glacier, but this year managed to cap her regular podium performances. “I think Soelden has always been good for me,” the athlete said. “I know always that I can be happy here, and I’m really happy about this (win). But it was bumpy and so you couldn’t really see where the bumps were.”

The afternoon shadows that fell across the GS course during the second run slowed Italian star (and first run leader) Denise Karbon, who took the bronze. American heroine and World Cup Champion Lindsey Vonn also struggled slightly, and matched her best Soelden finish with a ninth. Fellow U.S. Ski Team athlete, 2006 Olympic Champ Julia Mancuso qualified for a second run (in 21st) but skied off course during the final run.

The next World Cup GS race will take place on American snow at the Aspen Winternational, November 28th through 29th, where last season, Vonn had a career-best GS placing, finishing fourth. (Tanja Poutiainen was just ahead of her, in third.) Before the World Champion comes home, though, it’s off to Levi, Finland, where last year Vonn surprised the slalom field and claimed the win.