Vonn holds big lead over Riesch in super-combi | AspenTimes.com

Vonn holds big lead over Riesch in super-combi

Andrew Dampf
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
Lindsey Vonn of the United States speeds down the course during an alpine ski, Women's World Cup downhill training , in Tarvisio, Italy, Thusday, Feb. 19, 2009. She clocked the twelfth fastest time. (AP Photo/Marco Trovati)

TARVISIO, Italy ” Lindsey Vonn held a commanding lead over German rival Maria Riesch following the downhill portion of a super-combi race Friday, putting the American in prime position to earn a U.S.-record 19th World Cup victory.

Vonn covered the sun-drenched Prampero course in 1 minute, 31.22 seconds. Riesch was 0.76 seconds behind, and Nadja Kamer of Switzerland was third, 0.88 back.

Vonn, of Vail, Colo., is currently tied with Tamara McKinney for the U.S. women’s record of 18 World Cup wins.

Vonn sliced her thumb open on a broken champagne bottle after sweeping the speed races at the world championships and is skiing with a specially designed splint under her glove.

“Pushing off at the start is the main problem,” said Vonn’s husband, Thomas. “Today is going to be a real test.”

While Vonn didn’t appear to struggle with the injury, she did have some trouble at the end of her downhill run, falling as she tried to stop. She slid to a stop before the safety mattresses and immediately got up, apparently without any further injury.

In her first race since the injury, Vonn stood second after the opening run of the slalom at the worlds, then fell in the second leg as Riesch won.

“I don’t think it’s handicapping her too much, because when she’s racing she doesn’t think about it,” said Riesch, who was also battling a sore throat and cough, of Vonn’s injury. “It’s hard to get eight-tenths on her in slalom, but I will be satisfied with having a podium today.”

As the final super-combi race of the season, this race will also determine the discipline title. Anja Paerson holds a 160-102 lead over Kathrin Zettel of Austria, while Vonn is third with 100 points.

Paerson stood fifth, 1.35 out, while Zettel was tied for 23rd with Julia Mancuso of the United States, 2.35 back.

Zettel won gold in super-combi at the worlds after Vonn was disqualified for splitting a gate in the slalom leg.

Paerson made a costly mistake midway through her run.

“I lost a second for sure,” the Swede said.

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