Riesch wins Lake Louise downhill; Vonn 2nd | AspenTimes.com

Riesch wins Lake Louise downhill; Vonn 2nd

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

Maria Riesch of Germany, races down the course on her way to winning the women's World Cup downhill ski race in Lake Louise, Alberta on Friday, Dec. 3, 2010. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)

LAKE LOUISE, Alberta – Maria Riesch of Germany captured a World Cup downhill Friday, holding off best friend Lindsey Vonn and snapping her record winning streak.

Riesch finished the course in 1 minute, 28.96 seconds, just 0.12 ahead of Vonn. Elisabeth Goergl of Austria was third in 1:29.17.

“To beat Lindsey at Lake Louise is a big challenge,” Riesch said. “Every win is really special, especially here in Lake Louise where Lindsey is always killing it.”

Vonn, winner of five straight on the downhill course, has been so dominant at this venue that it’s known as “Lake Lindsey.” This was the 12th time the American star has earned a podium spot at Lake Louise, where she had her first career World Cup win in 2004.

“I felt really good. I thought I had a pretty good run,” Vonn said. “I thought I skied pretty well. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for the win today. But I’m really happy with second place.”

Vonn, the three-time overall World Cup winner, considers Riesch one of her best friends and top rivals.

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“Maria had a great run, too,” Vonn said. “She definitely skied better today. I’m really happy that she got the win.”

The women’s downhill course was shortened by nearly 500 feet because of icy sections at the top.

Vonn has been critical of this year’s course, which was water-injected for the men’s races last week. Injection creates a layer of hard snow and ice to prevent the course from deteriorating as the heavier men ski over it, and also to keep the course intact should the temperature suddenly rise.

Lake Louise has received little snow since the men’s races, and some sections remain icy.

“It’s unfortunately getting more slick ever day,” Vonn said. “It’s pretty dangerous, but they’re doing their best, so I have to go out and do my best and try not to think about it.

“It’s better when it’s not as icy for the women. You need to be able to feel the snow.”

Vonn has been battling a cold all week. But for a skier who raced at the Olympics with a badly bruised shin, this wasn’t anything that would keep her out.

“I’ve raced through a lot worse things than a cold before,” Vonn said, laughing. “I didn’t question if I would race today.”

Teammate Julia Mancuso finished fourth, part of a strong showing by a U.S. squad that placed seven in the top 30.

“The whole U.S. team, we did a great job,” Vonn said. “That shows we are skiing really well as a team. Everyone has been training well. I’m really psyched we stepped it up.”

The women will race another downhill Saturday and a super G on Sunday.