Lena Dürr in Levi: The darn second run – Sport

The best German slalom skier gets 100 points in Levi. This is a positive finding of a sporty weekend in Finland. 100 points for Lena Dürr from Germering near Munich. 100 points, the maximum yield of a race. This is where the other part of this three-digit and four-part story begins: Two World Cups were contested in Levi – and Lena Dürr scored 50 points on both Saturday and Sunday. In other words, she was fourth twice.

The clearly delayed start of the alpine skiing women could have been a historic weekend from a German point of view. It was almost ten years to the day that a German athlete last won a World Cup in special slalom. Maria Höfl-Riesch was last able to do this in November 2012. Back then on a ski slope in a certain Levi. Lena Dürr, fourth at the Olympics in this discipline, had two chances to win this weekend. On Saturday she led the race – on Sunday she was seven hundredths of a second behind Michaela Shiffrin after the first round. But in the second round, the skis under Dürr’s legs didn’t curve around the poles quite as buoyantly.

The background is the special character of the second run. Namely that things are reversed – or the starting order. The fastest of the first run start in the second at the very end – and so it happened that Dürr in Levi, being the last and penultimate, threw himself out of the starting gate in heat two. Now with floodlights – and a rutted slope. In her two clean and fast first runs she had much more comfortable slope conditions thanks to her early start number. A not insignificant detail when it comes to hundredths of a second.

Better fourth place than nothing at all. So things repeated themselves

Dürr analyzed the weekend precisely after her first fourth place. The rutted track at the end of round two kept her busy. “You just know you can’t push your thing through like that,” Dürr explained on Saturday. “Then I withdraw the tick too soon.” In other words: Less risk to avoid being eliminated. Better fourth place than nothing at all – a not entirely implausible strategy in slalom with all its pitfalls and traps. And so things repeated themselves.

Excellent first run, timid second run, just missed the podium. Levi’s weekend inevitably reveals a pattern that Lena Dürr had already demonstrated in February. Best time in the first round was only enough for fourth place in the Olympic slalom. Understandably, there were tears in Beijing. However, Dürr takes a hundred useful points with him from Levi – and warm words from the German alpine director Wolfgang Maier. After first and second place in race one, “there are of course high expectations of staying on the podium in the second race,” explained Maier on Sunday. However, Dürr “substantiated that she is one of the top five slalom drivers.”

Even the top four. In the slalom world cup (currently synonymous with the overall world cup), Dürr is also fourth for mathematical reasons. At the top it says here Mikaela Shiffrin, who won both races by Levi. As if the summer of 2022 had never happened, last year’s overall World Cup winner carved through Levi’s four pole courses. Only one was faster than her once. Lena Dürr in run one.

The history of this weekend also includes that Andrea Filser from Wildsteig managed half the World Championship norm with 13th place on Sunday – and like Jessica Hilzinger (Oberstdorf, 16th place on Saturday) achieved her best result in a World Cup race. It was “definitely good to know that we’re there,” Dürr summed up on Sunday. “A good weekend to start with room for improvement”.

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