Maria Hoefl-Riesch showed no signs of a nagging hip injury on Saturday as the Olympic champion won a slalom event in Levi, Finland.
The 27-year-old German was second behind local favourite Tanja Poutiainen after the first run.
But she produced a stunning effort in the second to overtake the Finn and win the first women’s world cup slalom of the season and her 24th career world cup victory.
A victory had an even sweeter taste for the 2011 all-round champion as it was the venue of her very first slalom triumph eight years ago.
Poutiainen led by three tenths of a second after the first run to raise hopes of a home victory.
But it wasn’t to be as the former slalom world cup champion couldn’t keep up with Hoefl-Reisch’s pace in the second.
She eventually had to settle for second place 0.55 seconds behind her German rival.
Team USA’s rising star Mikaela Shiffrin claimed third place at the northernmost venue on the world cup circuit.
The 17-year-old was 0.74 seconds adrift for her second career podium finish.
Slovenia’s Tina Maze, who won the giant slalom in the season opener in Soelden, Austria, two weeks ago, was fourth to maintain her position at the top of the overall world cup standings ahead of Hoefl-Riesch in second and Poutiainen in third.
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