Friday, March 14, 2008

Bode clinches World Cup, Vonn closes in

World Cup winners in Bormio

Photo Fabrice Coffrini-AFP/Getty Images. Lindsey Vonn proudly raises her World Cup downhill globe Wednesday at Bormio, Italy.

The cancellation of Wednesday's downhill races at the World Cup Finals in Bormio, Italy, was a source of frustration for American stars Bode Miller and Lindsey Vonn.

Miller, 30, and Vonn, 23, had hoped to clinch the 2007-08 Audi World Cup overall crystal globes with strong efforts in their best events, the downhill. Fortunately, each had enough of a cushion going into the final four races of the winter season.

On Thursday, Miller clinched his second World Cup overall title in four years with a 12th place in super giant slalom. His main pursuer, Didier Cuche of Switzerland, fell 191 points behind Miller, and elected not to race in the slalom finale.

However, cancellation of the Bormio downhill denied Miller the opportunity to wrest the downhill globe from Cuche, whom he was trailing in the discipline by just a few points. Cuche, who had also led the super G standings throughout the season, saw that globe slip from his grasp by just one point when Austrian Hannes Reichelt won the final super G by .01 seconds. Cuche finished the race 16th—one place out of the points.

Vonn saved her best super G result of the season for the most important time. She was second Thursday and stretched her lead over Maria Riesch of Germany to a nearly insurmountable 197 points with just two races remaining. It will be Vonn's first World Cup overall title after she grabbed the season's downhill crystal globe.

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