Lindsey Vonn vaults to World Cup lead
December 23, 2007
ST. ANTON AM ARLBERG, Austria ” Lindsey Vonn won’t be able to fly home for Christmas because of the World Cup schedule. Then again, with the way things are going, why would she want to leave Europe?
The American won a super-combined Saturday for her second straight victory, sending her to the top of the overall standings. And for the second straight race, U.S. teammate Julia Mancuso finished third. Another American, Stacey Cook, was 13th.
Vonn led after the downhill leg and finished with a combined time of 2 minutes, 20.28 seconds after the slalom. It was her third victory of the season and 10th overall.
“With so many good racers out, I didn’t have to take too many risks on my slalom run. I decided to make it a smart race,” said Vonn, who was known as Lindsey Kildow until she married fellow Olympian Thomas Vonn in September.
The next races are a slalom and giant slalom in Austria on Dec. 28-29. So, for a third straight year, Vonn will spend Christmas with Maria Riesch at the German skier’s home in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
They can toast each other’s success. Riesch was the runner-up Saturday, 0.63 seconds behind.
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Only 17 skiers completed both disciplines on the bumpy and icy Karl Schranz course ” super-combined specialists like Anja Paerson, Nicole Hosp and defending World Cup champion Marlies Schild did not finish.
Vonn won her first super-combined after seven downhills and two super Gs. She missed Friday’s slalom training because of a news conference and media interviews after winning the downhill.
“That annoyed me, of course,” Vonn said. “But Stacey Cook told me about the course and that it was well prepared, so finally it meant no disadvantage to me.”
Vonn overtook Hosp at the top of the overall standings and could become the first American woman to capture the overall title since Tamara McKinney in 1983.
“Sure, I remember Tamara well, she was a big star a long time ago. But it doesn’t really matter to me right now as it is much too early in the season,” Vonn said. “We’ve just had three weeks of downhill skiing and I am sure that Nicole Hosp will gain many points in the upcoming technical disciplines. So it’s better for me to not think about that now.”
Riesch also played it safe in the slalom.
“My downhill race wasn’t great, and with so many others already out, I just wanted to finish my slalom run,” Riesch said. Mancuso said she struggled with her equipment during the start of the season, but was happy to get two podium finishes in two days.
“We did a lot of testing with the new material, and now I finally have skis that suit me perfectly,” she said.
Vonn had a clear advantage after the downhill leg, leading Mancuso and Hosp by 1.48 seconds.
“My race was better than yesterday’s as I had far less errors,” Vonn said, who skied flawlessly in the first part of the race, where she made several mistakes Friday.
Vonn almost missed a gate after a long jump threw her off course, but she quickly found her line.
The bumpy lower part of the course troubled many skiers. Daniela Merighetti, Elisabeth Goergl and Simone Streng had full-speed crashes but avoided serious injuries.
The event in St. Anton am Arlberg was the first of only three super-combined races this season. The other two are at Whistler Moutain, British Columbia, on Feb. 23, and Crans Montana, Switzerland, on March 9.
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