Frenchwoman Marion Rolland a shock winner of world downhill title in Austria
Last Updated: February 10, 2013 12:31pm
Mariona Rolland: New world champion
French skier Marion Rolland produced surprise run to claim the women's downhill title at the World Ski Championships in Austria on Sunday.
The 30-year-old had just two previous podium finishes to her name in World Cup events, but crucially both of those came at the same Schladming venue that played host to the World Championships.
Rolland clocked a time of one minute and 50 seconds on the Streicher course to beat Italy's Nadia Fanchini by 0.16, with Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany coming home in third.
It completed a fine turnaround for Rolland, who famously fell just four seconds into her run at the 2012 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Still without a World Cup win, Rolland is now a world champion after beating off competition from a host of bigger names on the tricky track, which saw three big crashes in the first ten starters.
With yet more poor performances from the well-fancied home Austrian team, Stephanie Moser was an early faller, with Germany's Veronique Hronek and Swiss skier Dominique Gisin following her soon after.
The USA team could not make up for the loss of Lindsey Vonn to a season-ending knee injury with Olympic silver medallist Julia Mancuso finishing fifth.
"It was bumpy and fast but it was a lot of fun," Mancuso said. "It was hard to feel perfect, I don't think anyone felt perfect, you just had to really charge hard and I'm missing a little bit of that.
"I know it was really close to be on the podium but I'm happy and that was a good downhill run for me. When you're at the world championships everyone's just charging hard, nothing else matters and sometimes you go down."
World Cup overall leader Tina Maze finished in seventh as she was unable to add to the super-G gold and super-combined silver she has won at the championships.