Maria Hoefl-Riesch’s hopes of a second career overall World Cup title appear to be over after the German crashed out of the opening downhill at the World Cup finals in Lenzerheide, Switzerland on Wednesday.
The 2011 overall champion – who had been ill before the event – entered the four-race finals leading the standings.
However midway down the course she crashed heavily into the netting and suffered a shoulder injury.
The three-time olympic champion was taken away to a nearby hospital by helicopter.
News from her team later emerged that there was no fracture but her participation at the finals is over.
Anna Fenninger was trailing Hoefl-Riesch by 29 points in the overall standings before the start.
But following a sixth place finish on the day the Austrian is now 11 points out in front.
With Hoefl-Riesch – already winner of this season’s downhill title – out, in-form Fenninger has one hand on her maiden World Cup overall crystal globe, which she’ll be eager to add her gold and silver medals won at the Sochi Olympics last month.
With three races left she enjoys a 235-point lead over third-placed Lara Gut.
Switzerland’s Gut maintained her very slim hopes of overall glory by winning the last downhill of the season in a time of one minute 32.31 seconds.