Strong winds cancels women's World Cup GS in Slovakia
JASNA, Slovakia (AP) The first World Cup race in the Low Tatras mountains since 1984 was called off Saturday because of strong wind, forcing the women's giant slalom to be rescheduled for Monday.
Organizers initially postponed the race by an hour and lowered the start gate but abandoned the event after conditions failed to improve. The race on Monday will come one day after a slalom on the same course.
''In the upper part it's extremely windy,'' said Atle Skaardal, race director of the international ski federation. ''The weather forecast gives us no hope for today. The wind could even increase.''
Skaardal said the weather was expected to be ''stable until Sunday morning. We'll do the slalom and hopefully get a chance to do the GS on Monday.''
It's the final weekend of technical races before the World Cup finals in St. Moritz, Switzerland, in two weeks.
In the GS standings, Eva-Maria Brem of Austria leads, 32 points clear of Germany's Viktoria Rebensburg and 80 ahead of Switzerland's Lara Gut.
''It wasn't possible. It's a shame because the course was great. It's really just the wind,'' Brem said. ''I want to do this race (on Monday) because I am in good shape.''
Gut is a strong favorite for the overall title. The Swiss trails leader Lindsey Vonn by 28 points but the four-time overall champion from the United States has ended her season because of a left knee injury.
An estimated 20,000 fans had made their way to the venue, which is hosting its first World Cup event in 32 years.
Interest in Alpine skiing got a boost in Slovakia this season after Petra Vlhova won her first career World Cup race in December and Veronika Velez-Zuzulova triumphed in back-to-back slaloms the following month.
Velez-Zuzulova is the only remaining rival of slalom World Cup leader Frida Hansdotter. The Swede will secure the title with a race to spare if she finishes ahead of Velez-Zuzulova on Sunday.