Vonn wins super-combi, tied for first overall
December 18, 2009
VAL D’ISERE, France – Lindsey Vonn feels so confident in speed events this season that she’s competing with men’s skis.
Vonn won a World Cup super-combined race Friday for her 25th career victory, taking advantage of her speed skills in the French Alps.
The American, who led by a massive 1.52 seconds after the downhill, overcame poor visibility in the slalom run and finished with a combined time of 2 minutes, 37.55 seconds on the Oreiller-Killy course. Her rival and friend Maria Riesch of Germany was 1.16 seconds behind, and they are tied for the lead in the overall standings with 521 points.
“I’m taller and maybe a little bit heavier than most of the other girls,” Vonn said after winning the third super combined of her career. “So for me, the men’s skis are more stable. It’s harder to turn, of course, it takes more strength. But I’m able to generate a lot of speed from the turns.”
Vonn secured her third win of the season following downhill victories this month in Lake Louise, Alberta, where she used the same men’s skis. The two-time defending World Cup champion said she did a lot of testing during the summer after switching to a new ski supplier.
“It was clear that men’s skis were better for me and I decided to go with them,” she said. “I definitely had some fast skis today. I made most of my time in the turns. I still made one mistake in the middle, but I was generating some good speed from the turns. It was a good one.”
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Vonn posted the seventh-best time of the slalom run after skiing conservatively under light snow and freezing temperatures
“Slalom is not my best discipline,” she said. “Downhill is working really well for me right now. My goal was just to have a solid downhill run so I wouldn’t have to risk too much in the slalom.”
Riesch had to take big risks to make up her deficit and nearly straddled a gate in the upper part of the course.
Elisabeth Goergl of Austria, who prevented Vonn from winning three straight races this month when she narrowly beat her in a super G in Lake Louise, was 1.39 seconds back in third.
“Lindsey is skiing very well right now, we will just try to get closer tomorrow,” Goergl said.
Vonn said she is hoping to do better than in Lake Louise “and make it three out of three” ahead of Saturday’s downhill and Sunday’s super G, where she will have good chances to become the sole leader of the overall World Cup standings.
Riesch admitted her rival’s superiority in the speed events, but hopes she’ll be able to challenge her for the overall title until the end of the season.
“She showed her class today, if she does nearly as good as today, nobody will have a chance (tomorrow),” Riesch said. “Last year it was similar, but at the end of February she was running away from me. She had some problems in the tech events, but she got it back. It would be great to keep it up with her until the season finale in Garmisch.”
Defending super-combi World Cup champion Anja Paerson of Sweden shared fourth place with Michaela Kirchgasser. The Austrian was just 18th after the downhill, but had the fastest slalom run of 50.91 seconds.
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