Suter wins World Cup downhill; Vonn 3rd |

Suter wins World Cup downhill; Vonn 3rd

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
Lindsey Vonn, of the United States, left, and Italy's Nadia Fanchini, stand on the podium after they tied for the third place, in a alpine ski, Women's World Cup downhill race, in Bansko, Bulgaria, Friday, Feb. 27, 2009. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)

BANSKO, Bulgaria ” Fabienne Suter of Switzerland won a World Cup downhill Friday, and Lindsey Vonn of Vail, Colo., tied for third to increase her lead in the overall standings.

Suter won the race in 1 minute, 45.68 seconds in Bulgaria’s debut on the World Cup circuit. Andrea Fischbacher of Austria was 1.15 seconds behind, and Vonn tied with Nadia Fanchini of Italy, 1.24 back.

“I felt great after training but I was nervous ” of course it’s fantastic to win,” Suter said. “It was a very bumpy course and it was tough with the flat light.”

Vonn extended her lead in the overall standings to 1,434 points, ahead of Maria Riesch of Germany by 346. She also leads the downhill standings by 118 points. Riesch finished 18th, while third-place Anja Paerson did not finish.

Vonn, who is still nursing a thumb injury, crashed during training Thursday.

“I was a little bit nervous today because of my crash yesterday. It was a tough fall. My back and behind are a little bit sore,” said the 24-year-old Vonn. “I just tried to fight. It wasn’t my best run for sure. I’m happy with third place. And those are important points for the overall (standings). I will try and be faster tomorrow.”

With frequent bumps, Vonn described the Banderiza course as one of the most difficult on the World Cup circuit. That added to concerns about balance, because Vonn is skiing with a specially designed splint on her right hand after cutting her thumb on a champagne bottle two weeks ago.

“It’s nice to have a new spot on the World Cup and add something exciting for us,” Vonn said. “It’s the first time we’ve raced here, so obviously there’s going to be bumps in the road. They could probably make some changes to make it better.

“In general, it’s a good course. It’s challenging, probably the most challenging in the World Cup.”

Fischbacher, who dominated in training, said she felt at home in Bulgaria.

“This course suits my style with the narrow turns. It’s exciting,” the Austrian said. “I just tried hard to keep my skis down and go fast.”

Another downhill is scheduled for Saturday, with a super G on Sunday.

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