Vonn wins 4th straight World Cup downhill | AspenTimes.com

Vonn wins 4th straight World Cup downhill

Eric Willemsen
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
Lindsey Vonn, of the United States, speeds down the course on her way to win an alpine ski, women's World Cup downhill race, in Haus im Ennstal , Austria, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Marco Trovati)

HAUS IM ENNSTAL, Austria – The Olympics are almost a month away, and Lindsey Vonn is unstoppable in the downhill.

She won her fourth straight World Cup downhill Saturday and second in two days, overcoming poor visibility because of increasing snowfall.

“I am really happy with this weekend,” Vonn said. “It’s a real confidence booster.”

She sped down the shortened Krummholz course in 1 minute, 9.12 seconds to beat Nadja Kamer of Switzerland by 0.14 seconds and extend her lead in the overall standings. Ingrid Jacquemod of France was another 0.02 back in third.

Vonn started 21st and said she was surprised to win.

“I knew I had to make a perfect run,” she said. “First, I thought I had to be aggressive, but then I realized that the weather was getting worse.”

Vonn was in control all the way and finished strongly to beat Kamer, who started first and under better conditions.

“It was a tough race out there,” Vonn said. “It was definitely getting slower for late numbers with the snow coming down. I had some problem at the start as I got my pole stuck in my legs a bit, but thankfully I had a good clean run.”

U.S. women’s speed coach Alex Hoedlmoser was especially impressed with Vonn’s psychological approach.

“She knows that she can beat everybody,” the coach said. “Even today, with very, very tough conditions, especially when she went in. I mean, conditions changed and got worse. She’s still able to do it. That’s pretty amazing.”

In addition to Vonn, the U.S. had a ninth-place finish from Stacey Cook while Julia Mancuso was 11th.

The race was postponed several times because of fog and organizers lowered the start of the race to the point normally used for super-G starts.

Vonn’s main rival, Maria Riesch, finished seventh, 0.46 off the winning time. Vonn has 794 points to lead the German by 99 points. Austria’s Kathrin Zettel is third with 569.

“I can’t be satisfied finishing seventh but it’s not the end of the world,” Riesch said. “Lowering the start made it a pretty short course, which was not a benefit for me.”

Kamer enjoyed her first top-three finish in a World Cup race.

“Maybe I was lucky as well with start No. 1,” she said. “I never believed I could win as I knew that Lindsey would be faster.”

Jacquemod, who was 23rd in Friday’s downhill, likened the race to a sprint.

“It was a challenge, and I like challenges,” she said.

Anja Paerson finished fifth, 0.40 behind Vonn, and is fourth in the standings with 471 points. She was second in Friday’s downhill.

A women’s super G is scheduled for Sunday.

“I have to be more aggressive than I’ve been in the last couple of super-G’s,” Vonn said. “I have to stay focused and keep things going.”

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