Vonn leads as downhill training finally starts in Italy | AspenTimes.com

Vonn leads as downhill training finally starts in Italy

Andrew Dampf
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
Lindsey Vonn, of the United States, takes a jump during training for an alpine ski, World Cup Women's Downhill event, in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, Friday, Jan. 23, 2009. (AP Photo/Armando Trovati)

CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy ” Overall World Cup leader Lindsey Vonn of Colorado led a World Cup downhill training session Friday after three days of cancellations because of fog and snow.

Vonn posted her first podium finish on the Olympia delle Tofane course in 2004 and won the prestigious downhill last year. She has five top-three finishes overall on the course.

Vonn clocked 1 minute, 17.36 seconds on a shortened course. Andrea Fischbacher of Austria was second fastest, 0.22 seconds behind, and Kelly Vanderbeek of Canada was third.

“I definitely went more aggressive than I normally do in training runs, because I knew we only had one,” said Vonn, who criticized organizers for canceling training on Friday. “I think I pretty much nailed down the line. Maybe just one turn I can clean up and maybe tuck to the finish.”

Nearly all the top skiers slowed down before crossing the finish line. Anja Paerson had the provisional best time, but was disqualified for missing a gate.

Conditions were clear and sunny for the top group, then clouds rolled in after the first 15 skiers. The downhill race is scheduled for Saturday, with a giant slalom Sunday and a super-G rescheduled for Monday.

A blizzard dumped more than 4 feet of fresh snow on the course earlier in the week and was followed by heavy fog, forcing the cancellation of a second downhill that had been moved from Lake Louise, Alberta. More snow was forecast overnight, putting Saturday’s downhill at risk.

Vonn leads the overall standings with 776 points. Maria Riesch is second (765), followed by Paerson with 702.

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