Gisin crowns golden ski weekend

Dominique Gisin (centre) holding hands with co-winner Anja Pärson. Third-placed Lindsey Vonn is to her left Keystone

Dominique Gisin from Switzerland has won the women's World Cup downhill race in Zauchensee, Austria.

This content was published on January 18, 2009

Gisin's victory, which she shared with Sweden's Anja Pärson, came after Carlo Janka won Friday's super-combined event and Didier Défago Saturday's downhill on the classic Lauberhorn piste in the Swiss resort of Wengen.

The Swiss team will now go into the world championships in Val d'Isère in two weeks with confidence and can reasonably expect a few medals.

However, Swiss slalom fans shouldn't hold their breath: on Sunday, 15th place was the best Switzerland's only representative could do in the men's slalom at Wengen.

Across the Alps in Zauchensee Pärson and Gisin both went down the 2.95-kilometre Kälberloch course in an identical time of 1 minute, 47.52 seconds.

While 23-year-old Gisin celebrated her first World Cup title, Pärson added it to her other 39.

Gisin said she never expected to win even after finishing in first, as the top downhillers had yet to start. But the sunny weather changed during the race as clouds were coming up. Gisin, who was fourth out of the gate, said conditions had favoured her.

"I was lucky with the weather – I had a better sight than most of the top racers," she said. "I wasn't too fast at the start, but then I thought I had to give just everything."

Gisin celebrated her maiden victory with an immediate phone call to her parents.

"I talked to them but I still don't believe it, I'm in a trance!" she said. "It's a huge honour to be on a podium with Anja."

Gut better

Pärson, who had the fastest downhill training run on Friday and was second in the downhill leg of the super-combined, was among the fastest starters and led Gisin by 0.48 seconds at the second intermediate time.

"It got quite dark. The upper part was OK, but the trees made it very dark afterwards," Pärson said. "I struggled to see the right line."

Defending overall champion Lindsey Vonn of the United States took third, 0.17 seconds behind, to regain the lead in the overall standings. Maria Riesch of Germany, who led the standings going into the race, finished seventh with a 0.48-second deficit.

After 17 races Vonn has 776 points, Riesch has 765, while Pärson climbed to third with 702.

The highest-placed Swiss overall is 17-year-old Lara Gut, who is in eighth place with 359 points. Gut finished 12th on Sunday but could be pleased, having had to stand out of the super-combined race on Saturday with a stomach bug.

Slalom crisis

While Swiss fans had plenty to celebrate on Saturday, Switzerland's male skiers confirmed that there's little danger of them getting anywhere near the slalom podium.

A week after not one Swiss managed to qualify for the second leg of a men's World Cup slalom at the home resort of Adelboden, only Marc Gini skied twice in Wengen, finishing 15th.

Austria dominated the race, with four of the top five places going to Switzerland's rivals. Manfred Pranger claimed his first victory in four years, with compatriot Reinfried Herbst second, 0.34 behind. Ivica Kostelic of Croatia was third, followed by Marcel Hirscher and Benjamin Raich.

Swiss skiers Silvan Zurbriggen and Daniel Albrecht, who came third and sixth respectively in the super-combi on Friday, both failed to qualify for the second run.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Selected results from women's downhill in Zauchensee:
1= Anja Pärson, Sweden, 1 minute, 47.52 seconds.
1= Dominique Gisin, Switzerland, 1:47.52.
3. Lindsey Vonn, United States, 1:47.69.
4. Marie Marchand-Arvier, France, 1:47.92.
5. Emily Brydon, Canada, 1:48.23.
12. Lara Gut, Switzerland, 1:48.84
18. Fabienne Suter, Switzerland, 1:49.08

End of insertion
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