Eder Claims Third Slalom Victory
SEMMERING, Austria (AP) _ Austria’s Elfi Eder, urged on by a boisterous home crowd and capitalizing on a mistake by Slovenia’s Urska Hrovat, earned her third World Cup slalom victory of the season Saturday.
In fourth place after the first run, Eder tamed the treacherous, rock-hard Hirschenkogel course while several of the other favorites failed. Her two-run time of 1 minute, 40.70 seconds, gave the Austrian women’s team its seventh victory in 14 races this season.
Eder, the overall slalom leader, was assured the victory when Hrovat, the leader after the first run, missed a gate near the top of the course in the second run and was disqualified.
The victory was greeted with cheers by an estimated crowd of 10,000 that crammed into this tiny resort hoping to see Eder improve on her third-place finish in Friday’s slalom.
Of this season’s five slalom races, Eder has won three and Sweden’s Pernilla Wiberg two.
``There were so many people cheering for me,″ Eder, the Olympic silver medalist, said, ``so between the first and second runs I found a silent place to concentrate and get my head together for an hour or two.
``It was nice to have so many people pulling for me.″
Eder’s joy was in sharp contrast to Hrovat’s disappointment. Hrovat also failed to finish Friday’s race.
``I had problems in training, but to make a mistake like today is stupid,″ Hrovat said. ``I don’t need luck. What happened today was my fault.″
The win improved Eder’s lead atop the overall slalom standings. She has 360 points, far ahead of runner-up Marianne Kjoerstad of Norway. Kjoerstad, who finished second Saturday, has 214 points.
Kjoerstad, also the runner-up in the first slalom of the season at Vail, Colo., was timed in 1:40.98 Saturday.
Sweden’s Kristina Andersson, who like Kjoerstad has not won a World Cup race, placed third in 1:41.02.
She was followed by Switzerland’s Marlies Oester in in 1:41.18 and Claudia Riegler of New Zealand, a former member of the Austrian team, in 1:41.22.
The slalom results changed the World Cup overall standings, with Anita Wachter, the 1993 overall champion, vaulting past Austrian teammate Alexandra Meissnitzer. Wachter now leads with 504 points, followed by Meissnitzer, who does not race in the slalom, with 488.
Germany’s Martina Ertl, 13th place in the slalom, held third with 453 points.