Hoefl-Riesch ruled out of World Cup finals after downhill crash; Fenninger favored for title

The Associated Press

Austria's Anna Fenninger speeds down the course on her way to take sixth place in a women's alpine skiing downhill at the World Cup finals in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, Wednesday, March 12, 2013. Anna Fenninger was second in the downhill standings. (AP Photo/Shinichiro Tanaka)

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By GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer

LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland (AP) — Maria Hoefl-Riesch will miss the rest of the ski season after crashing in a World Cup downhill on Wednesday, leaving Anna Fenninger as the favorite to win the overall title.

Germany team spokesman Ralph Eder told The Associated Press that Hoefl-Riesch will not start the three remaining races this week because of leg, elbow and shoulder injuries on her left side.

She sustained the injuries when sliding off course and into the safety nets, and was taken by helicopter from the slope before being driven to a nearby hospital.

"Maria is not able to compete in Lenzerheide. The injuries are serious," Eder said by telephone.

Fenninger took an 11-point lead over the 2011 champion by placing sixth in the downhill behind winner Lara Gut of Switzerland. Fenninger leads Gut by 235 points and defending champion Tina Maze by 287.

A maximum of 300 points are available in the final three races.

Fenninger can secure the title outright by finishing first or second on Thursday in the super-G, in which she is the Olympic champion. She also won Olympic silver in giant slalom, which is the World Cup season-ending race on Sunday.

If she wins the overall title, the 24-year-old Austrian would secure the sport's most prestigious honor for the first time.

Germany women's head coach Thomas Stauffer said Hoefl-Riesch's injury was tough to accept.

"It's very, very bad luck after such a good season from Maria not to be able to fight until the end for the overall World Cup," Stauffer said in a statement.

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