Sandrine Aubert wins in Zagreb, Lindsey Vonn skis off course

Posted By: The Ski Channel on January 4, 2010 6:21 am

Standing on the top of the podium after yesterday’s slalom race in Zagreb, Croatia, French ski racer Sandrine Aubert could not have been happier. “To be Snow Queen, we dream of it,” said Aubert, enjoying her second victory of the season. “This is probably the most exciting race on the whole tour. With the people we’ve got here, it is fantastic.”

Freshly named Athlete of the Decade Lindsey Vonn was skiing with a brace on her still-injured arm, and in order to make up time on her second run, missed a gate at the top of course. She was tied for 14th after her first run. Although she felt her skiing was better in the second run, she failed to turn hard enough. “I was just trying to make up some time and I just went a little too straight. But you know, I’m not able to trust myself. It’s mostly to do with my hand and not risking enough. I think that’s why I’m having trouble. I was just trying to give it everything I had the second run and just tactically made a mistake – went too straight – and that’s what happens. I have to be smarter than that.”

Vonn’s close friend and last year’s Snow Queen (winners are Snow Queens) Maria Riesch came in fourth. Aubert now leads the slalom standings with 316 points while Riesch has 293.

The slalom course in Zagreb is known to be challenging. It is long and the gliding sections are notoriously hard to handle. “It was a frustrating day for all of these girls,” said U.S. Technical Coach Trevor Wagner. “Lindsey couldn’t lay it down over that gate or she would have straddled. She’s still a little tentative with her arm, but it’s healing up nicely and she’ll get another good break here before going into speed races in Austria next weekend.”

The speed races in Austria next weekend include two downhill races and a super G in Haus im Ennstal. “I’m definitely excited to ski some speed now and give my hand some rest,” Lindsey said. “In the training runs I don’t have to push out of the start. I just have to save up my energy for the race start and then it will be OK. The slalom does not help. It’s so hard to put the pain behind you and just focus on skiing aggressively.”

Rounding out the top three were Austrian Kathrin Zettel and German Susanne Riesch.