World Cup calendar tightens for Vonn |

World Cup calendar tightens for Vonn

Graham Dunbar
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
Lindsey Vonn, of the United States, reacts after completing an alpine ski, Women's supercombined World Cup race, in St. Moritz, Switzerland, Friday, Dec. 19, 2008. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)

ST. MORITZ, Switzerland ” Lindsey Vonn most likely will have to defend her downhill title in a seven-race, eight-week dash following the latest World Cup postponement Sunday.

With only one race run so far in skiing’s signature event, the next downhill is not scheduled until Jan. 18 at Zauchensee, Austria. The eight-race program must end by March 15 at World Cup Finals week in Are, Sweden.

Vonn and her rivals also will compete in the world championship downhill Feb. 8, the centerpiece of women’s racing at a two-week ski festival in the French resort of Val d’Isere.

“The season is kind of compressed now,” Jim Tracy, the U.S. women’s team head coach, said after the St. Moritz slope was judged too dangerous in high winds. “It is difficult that we could not have that race. We trained for it and wanted it.”

A year ago, Vonn celebrated Christmas at the family home in Germany of her friend and rival Maria Riesch. Vonn held a lead of more than 100 points in the World Cup downhill standings after winning two of four races.

This time, the 24-year-old skier from Minnesota will return to Garmisch-Partenkirchen with 100 points from her victory in the only downhill spared by the weather, a Dec. 5 run at Lake Louise, Alberta.

A second race that was scheduled for Lake Louise will now take place Jan. 23 in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

The International Ski Federation has few options deciding where to slot the St. Moritz race.

“Right now, I believe the only place that could do it is Bulgaria,” said Tracy, targeting a downhill double at a Feb. 27-March 1 meet in Bansko when it debuts as a World Cup venue.

“Everybody is in the same boat,” Tracy said. “We know these things can happen. It is just a matter of managing the girls’ training and making sure they get enough rest.”

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