Vail’s Schleper notches top-10 finish in World Cup slalom |

Vail’s Schleper notches top-10 finish in World Cup slalom

AP photoSarah Schleper of Vail, competes during the first run of an alpine ski women's World Cup slalom event, in Zagreb, Croatia, Tuesday.

ZAGREB, Croatia – Marlies Schild of Austria claimed her fourth World Cup slalom victory of the season on Tuesday, while Lindsey Vonn slid off course in foggy conditions during the opening run.

Schild had a flawless second run to finish in a combined time of 2 minutes, 1.80 seconds. Olympic champion Maria Riesch of Germany was 0.75 seconds back and extended her lead over Vonn in the overall World Cup standings to 186 points. Manuela Moelgg of Italy was third.

“It’s a great feeling to win again. This is a special place for me,” said Schild, who also won in Zagreb in 2006 and 2007.

Schild has won every slalom race she has finished this season. She also won in Levi, Finland; Courchevel, France; and Semmering, Austria. She went out in her first run at Aspen, Colo.

Vonn never looked comfortable from the start. She was 1.62 seconds behind when she lost her balance on a right turn and skied off course. The defending overall champion also went out in previous slaloms in France and Austria.

Schild had the fastest time in the first run despite poor visibility caused by thick fog over the icy Crveni Spust course.

“I couldn’t see much, just the next gate. It was like flying blind,” said Schild, who has won 27 World Cup races, all but two of them slaloms. “I didn’t feel like having a good run.”

Conditions had vastly improved by the start of the final leg.

Riesch also called it a “very hard” first run.

“I could see just three gates ahead and I never was in a good rhythm coming down,” she said.

Vail’s Sarah Schleper finished eighth. She said Vonn might be lacking of confidence in the technical races.

“She hasn’t been training much with us lately, so hard to tell,” Schleper said. “We’ve been training a lot on these conditions, on really icy courses. The coaches have done a good job in preparing us for these conditions.”

American Julia Mancuso straddled a gate after 8 seconds into the first run. Schleper, who started 30th, had a near-perfect run opening run that put her fifth.

“I didn’t feel that good coming down. My skis were sliding a little bit,” Schleper said. “I was actually very surprised to see where I ended up. Maybe if I can clean up a couple of turns, I can be right there with the best girls.”

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