Road To The Olympic Games

Canada's Gagnon 3rd at women's World Cup slalom event

Maria Hoefl-Riesch won a women's World Cup slalom on Saturday, beating Slovakian Veronika Zuzulova. Canadian Marie-Michele Gagnon was third.

Hoefl-Riesch edges Zuzulova to win race

Marie-Michele Gagnon of Canada takes 3rd place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women's Slalom on March 10, 2012 in Are, Sweden. (Nisse Schmidt/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Maria Hoefl-Riesch won a women's World Cup slalom on Saturday, beating Slovakian Veronika Zuzulova by just one hundredth of a second.

Hoefl-Riesch finished her two runs in a combined time of 1 minute, 49.85 seconds to win the 23rd World Cup race of her career. Zuzulova lead after the first run.

Marie-Michele Gagnon of Lac-Etchemin, Que., was third, 0.11 behind Hoefl-Riesch.

"With one hundreth, you can't say it's better or worse. Sometimes you need some luck," said Hoefl-Riesch. "[But] I did a good race and I was risking a lot.

"I had some trouble at the top and the bottom [of the slope]. I think I won this race in the middle. I risked a lot there and made up a lot on the time there."

Overall World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn skidded out of her second run, failing to improve on her 1,808 points. The American is bidding to become the first female skier to earn 2,000 points in one season.

Four races worth a total of 400 points remain at the finals in Schladming, Austria.

It was Hoefl-Riesch's third World Cup win of the season. She won a downhill in Sochi, Russia last month and a super-combined race in St. Moritz, Switzerland in January.

Hoefl-Riesch's season has failed to live up to last year's campaign when she finished as overall World Cup winner by just three points ahead of Vonn.

"Last season, everything was perfect. I was consistent from beginning to end and I had something like 16 or 18 podiums. This year, I went out so many times," the German said.

"It's special to win a slalom this year, especially with Marlies Schild being almost unbeatable," Hoefl-Riesch added, referring to the Austrian world champion who had already secured the slalom World Cup title for the fourth time in her career this season.

Schild clocked the second best time in first run but in the end only managed a joint sixth place with Swede Frida Hansdotter, 0.29 behind the winner.

Schild, winner of six slalom races this season, was bidding to equal Swiss Vreni Schneider's record of 34 slalom World Cup wins.

American 16-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin was fourth after the first run but had a weaker second run and finished joint ninth with Swede Anna Swenn-Larsson. The pair finished 0.39 behind Hoefl-Riesch.

Shiffrin now lies in 17th place in the slalom standings, which qualifies her for the World Cup finals in the discipline.

"I'm really excited about racing in Schladming," Shiffrin said. "It feels good, but honestly, I've been dreaming about winning World Cup races since I was five years old."

The top 25 of the discipline make it into the finals.

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