Slovakian World Cup exponent Veronika Zuzulova lived up to her reputation as a tough competitor today winning the 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games ANC Continental Cup Women’s Giant Slalom at Coronet Peak after an extremely tight tussle amongst the top seeds.
There was just a second separating the first nine finishers in the class international field and world rankings for the top competitors, as well as emerging younger skiers, will drop as a result of the excellent points race.
Forty seven competitors representing Australia, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway, Slovakia and Switzerland started in the 36 gate race which was held on the Hurdle and finished in Eighth Basin.
Zuzulova, who is ranked 49th in the World in Giant Slalom was second seed in the start line up First seed Margret Altacher of Austria did not complete the first run, which was won by Norwegian Chloe Margrethe Fausa in 49.92 secs, the only competitor to go sub-50 seconds.
Zuzulova clocked 50 secs on the first run putting her in second position. Her final run of 51.25 was enough to give her the title in a combined time of 1.41.25 ahead of Switzerland’s 18-year-old Annie Winquist in 1.41.35. Winquist who is currently ranked 215 in the world put in a fast second run, after placing fifth in the first.
She just out skied Swiss World Cup skier Celina Hangl, who came home in 1.41.36 after clocking the fastest second run time of 50.59 to win the bronze medal.
Bernadette Schild of Germany was fourth in 1.41.42, Wendy Holdener of Switzerland fifth in 1.41.45 and Stefanie Moser of Austria sixth in 1.41.72.
Zuzulova who is ranked World number three in Slalom, and will start as a favourite to win the Winter Games slalom tomorrow, says she worked hard in the second run to pull off the win. "The last run was was more difficult but I really love this hill. In Europe you are struggling to find a slope as good as this".
The first New Zealander was Harriet Miller-Brown of Queenstown who claimed first start position in the second run after finishing 30th in the first. She placed 26th overall in in 1.45.17 significantly reducing her world ranking.