Riesch’s row with Vonn simmers on

An ongoing row between alpine ski stars Maria Riesch of Germany and Lindsey Vonn of the US hit more bumpy terrain Wednesday when Riesch's manager and husband accused the American of lying.

Riesch's row with Vonn simmers on
Photo: DPA

Once boasting one of the closest friendships on the circuit – Riesch’s family used to host Vonn regularly during the festive season – the pair’s relationship has turned sour in the wake of Riesch ending Vonn’s stranglehold on the World Cup title.

“I stopped talking to Maria after the first leg of the slalom at Spindleruv (Czech Republic on March 11-12),” Vonn, who had won the title the three previous seasons, wrote on her Facebook page on Saturday.

“She had given a series of negative interviews about me and has since continued to talk in a negative fashion about me. I am very hurt by her actions and I honestly don’t know where our friendship stands at this point.”

Vonn did not attend Riesch’s wedding on April 14, justifying her no-show by claiming both she and her husband Thomas had not been made to feel welcome. After returning from their honeymoon, Riesch’s new husband Marcus Höfl hit back at Vonn’s allegations.

“We have discussed whether one should react to this at all,” Höfl told the Thursday edition of Munich newspaper TZ. “Now, it’s just getting ridiculous. But on the other hand, Lindsey is lying again and we can’t just leave that unchallenged.

“She is trying to make out the whole thing is a cat-fight and that Maria is a bitch. She is just getting caught up more and more in their lies.”

Höfl insists Riesch has never said anything negative about Vonn.

“They should substantiate what they are saying,” said the German. “They can’t, because it is simply not true. Lindsey says she personally congratulated Maria (after winning her title), which is not true. To date, neither she, nor her representatives, have ever done that.”

Höfl questioned whether the pair, both 26, had even been genuine friends.

“The question is, was this ever a real friendship or was it just Lindsey was okay about things as long as she was ahead of Maria?,” he asked. “In any case, what she has done has become ridiculous.”


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German tourists among 13 dead in Italy cable car accident

Thirteen people, including German tourists, have been killed after a cable car disconnected and fell near the summit of the Mottarone mountain near Lake Maggiore in northern Italy.

German tourists among 13 dead in Italy cable car accident
The local emergency services published this photograph of the wreckage. Photo: Vigili del Fuoco

The accident was announced by Italy’s national fire and rescue service, Vigili del Fuoco, at 13.50 on Sunday, with the agency saying over Twitter that a helicopter from the nearby town of Varese was on the scene. 

Italy’s National Alpine and Speleological Rescue Corps confirmed that there were 13 victims and two seriously injured people.

Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported that German tourists were among the 13 victims.

According to their report, there were 15 passengers inside the car — which can hold 35 people — at the time a cable snapped, sending it tumbling into the forest below. Two seriously injured children, aged nine and five, were airlifted to hospital in Turin. 

The cable car takes tourists and locals from Stresa, a resort town on Lake Maggiore up to a panoramic peak on the Mottarone mountain, reaching some 1,500m above sea level. 

According to the newspaper, the car had been on its way from the lake to the mountain when the accident happened, with rescue operations complicated by the remote forest location where the car landed. 

The cable car had reopened on April 24th after the end of the second lockdown, and had undergone extensive renovations and refurbishments in 2016, which involved the cable undergoing magnetic particle inspection (MPI) to search for any defects. 

Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Twitter that he expressed his “condolences to the families of the victims, with special thoughts for the seriously injured children and their families”.

Infrastructure Minister Enrico Giovannini told Italy’s Tg1 a commission of inquiry would be established, according to Corriere della Sera: “Our thoughts go out to those involved. The Ministry has initiated procedures to set up a commission and initiate checks on the controls carried out on the infrastructure.”

“Tomorrow morning I will be in Stresa on Lake Maggiore to meet the prefect and other authorities to decide what to do,” he said.