Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Veronika Velez Zuzulova Wins Zagreb Slalom

In the lead after the opening run, Slovakia's Veronika Velez Zuzulova, didn't let anyone prevent her from earning her fourth Wolrd Cup victory. She finished in a combined time of 2:02.53 to edge out her nearest rivals her compatriot Petra Vlhova and Czech skier Sarka Strachova both respectively +0.24 and +0.52 seconds off the pace.
The injected slope received some overnight snow and although organizers did their best to clear the track, bumpy and at times inconsistent conditions proved to be the deciding factor in the first run as many of the early favorites failed to finish, including Mikaela Shiffrin and Wendy Holdener.
This victory was made extra special by the presence of skiing great Janica Kostelic, who was Velez Zuzulova’s childhood idol.
"It was a tough race", she said. "The first run, I had a really bad feeling when I arrived down. I was thinking that I will be really bad. After I saw the other girls, I saw that it was tough for everybody. Second run, I was ready to attack, and it was really not easy. I had some small mistakes, but I was trying to fight ’til the end and finally, it was good. For sure, it was a really nice moment and especially that I got the crown from Janica. I think this moment I will never forget because I did spend a lot of time with her; when I was young, I was training with her and she was my big idol, so I am really happy and for sure, it’s even more nice the victory".
Vlhova, although unhappy with her first run performance, recognized the significance of two skiers from the same small country finding the podium and is looking forward to what the future has in store for her and her compatriots.
"I am really happy because finally I did a good run", Vlhova said. "After first run, I was really sad because it was not my skiing. I wanted to go full gas and I’m second and I’m happy. Really happy. For us, it’s amazing because we are a small country and we are two girls from Slovakia on the podium; first and second. It’s unbelievable".
It was Strachova’s first podium appearance of the season, which will no doubt bode well for her confidence heading into the remainder of the season. It also marked her third time on the podium at this venue, having earned her other top-3 results in 2007 and 2009.
"It’s a great feeling to be on the podium again, especially here in Zagreb", she said. "It’s the first race of the new year, and it’s nice to be here on the podium for the third time in the third place, so it’s nice".

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