Velez Zuzulova surges to season's first FIS World Cup win


Veronika Velez Zuzulova was in formidable form as she claimed her first slalom victory of the FIS World Cup season in difficult conditions in Flachau.

The Slovakian completed her two runs with a combined time of one minute and 46.58 seconds to feature at the top of the podium for the first time since 2012 despite heavy snowfall in Austria.

Velez Zuzulova flew down the first run with a time of 52.15secs to lead Wendy Holdener by 0.54secs, while Czech Sarka Strachova was the only other competitor to post an opening time below 53 seconds.

Although Velez Zuzulova was only the seventh-quickest the second time around, her first-run advantage was great enough to ensure she finished 0.31secs clear of second-placed Strachova.

Slalom points leader Frida Hansdotter missed out on a place on the podium for the first time in the discipline this season last time out at Santa Caterina, but she edged into third position here.

The Swede posted a second-run time of 54.16secs to knock Holdener out of the top three but was unable to better Velez Zuzulova and replicate her Flachau win from 2015 as she ended up 1.05secs off the winner.

Nina Loeseth - fourth in the overall rankings - finished in fifth position, while home hope Eva-Maria Brem - seventh in the overall rankings - was the slowest to complete the two runs with a combined time of one minute 51.73secs earning her just five points.

Hansdotter remains top of the slalom leaderboard with 425 points, 74 ahead of Strachova while Velez Zuzulova's victory sees her move into third position on 320.