sport

Hoefl-Riesch's title hopes hit

Maria Hoefl-Riesch suffered a crash in the downhill at the World Cup finals in Lenzerheide, potentially handing the title to Anna Fenninger.

The pair arrived in Switzerland still contesting both the discipline title, where Hoefl-Riesch held an 80-point lead, and the overall standings in which she was 29 points ahead.

Fenninger failed to close the gap in downhill, finishing only sixth in a race won by Switzerland's Lara Gut, but that title will be mere consolation for Hoefl-Riesch if her injury proves as serious as initially feared.

She ran wide on a turn and crashed out, screaming in pain as her skis and poles became tangled and wrenched her around into the safety netting.

The short-term consequence was that Swiss racer Fenninger took an 11-point lead in the overall standings, but of greater concern will be Hoefl-Riesch's chances of recovering to compete in the week's three remaining events and overturn that deficit.

A subdued downhill title presentation went ahead in her absence, with Fenninger and Tina Maze receiving their medals and the top step of the podium left empty as the German national anthem played for Hoefl-Riesch.

The incident overshadowed the celebrations of both Gut and Fraenzi Aufdenblatten.

Swiss veteran Aufdenblatten, in her final downhill race before retirement, was second down and was greeted by a spray of champagne as 21-time World Cup race winner Didier Cuche held up a banner reading "Thank you for the laughs".

It soon became apparent the 33-year-old's time was more than competitive as she saw off challengers including compatriot Fabienne Suter, joint Olympic champion Dominique Gisin and Austria's Andrea Fischbacher, until Gut came down in bib 18.

A time of one minute 32.31 seconds was enough for victory, with Elisabeth Goergl only five hundredths behind after a stunning lower section.

Aufdenblatten held on for the fourth podium finish of her career, including a super G win at Val d'Isere in 2009.

Gut's win edged her 13 points ahead of Liechtenstein's Tina Weirather in third in the overall standings.

Aksel Lund Svindal nudged ahead in the chase for the men's overall title, finishing fifth as Matthias Mayer won the race.

Norwegian powerhouse Svindal had already wrapped up the downhill title, as well as the super G, and his focus was on his battle with reigning champion Marcel Hirscher across all disciplines.

With the Austrian technical specialist not competing, the 45 points collected by Svindal took him 41 ahead in the race for the overall crystal globe.

Hirscher, though, will have the chance to respond in the slalom as Svindal has not scored points in that discipline since 2009.

Svindal's time of one minute 30.19 seconds was 0.20 secs slower than Olympic downhill champion Mayer, who made only a steady start but accelerated towards the bottom.

His third split was particularly impressive and he took advantage of a late mistake from Christof Innerhofer to take top spot.

Italian Innerhofer shared second with the United States' Ted Ligety, with Peter Fill fourth for Italy ahead of Svindal.