Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mancuso leads World Cup speed charge

American Julia Mancuso enjoyed a weekend to remember by finishing second in Saturday’s Audi FIS World Cup downhill at Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria. U.S. Ski Team photo.

Battling stomach flu all week after the New Year, Audi FIS World Cup women's overall leader Lindsey Vonn, 27, of Vail, Colo. suffered through sub-par racing weekend at Bad Kleinkircheim, Austria Jan. 7-8 and still added 63 points to her lead over Austria's technical ace Marlies Schild in the overall standings.

Vonn leads Schild by 164 points, 704-540, going into another speed weekend Jan. 14-15 at Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy.

American Julia Mancuso enjoyed a weekend to remember by finishing second in Saturday's Austrian downhill.

Men's giant slalom leader Ted Ligety narrowly missed the podium in Saturday's GS at Adelboden, Switz. The men's World Cup now moves to Wengen, Switzerland for the 82nd Lauberhorn races Friday through Sunday, Jan. 13-15.

Here are top World Cup standings and top Americans after the four races (2 men, 2 women) at Adelboden and Bad Kleinkirchheim last weekend:

Men: 1—Marcel Hirscher (Aust.) 725. 2—Ivica Kostelic (Cro.) 495. 3—Aksel Lund Svindal (Nor.) 456. 4—Ted Ligety (USA) 453. 5—Beat Feux (Switz.) 365. 6—Bode Miller (USA) 343.

Women: 1—Lindsey Vonn (USA) 704 points. 2—Marlies Schild (Aust.) 540. 3—Tina Maze (Slov.) 483. 4—Anna Fenninger (Aust.) 454. 5—Elisabeth Goergl (Aust.) 434. 7—Julia Mancuso (USA) 327.l 8—Maria Hoefl-Riesch (Germ.) 326.

Results from last weekend:

Women in Austria

Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA) led the U.S. Ski Team with eighth in Sunday's Bad Kleinkirchheim super G as Swiss racer Fabienne Suter won for her second straight podium.

The race also capped a strong return to the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup for Laurenne Ross (Bend, OR), who finished 14th to score points in her first two races after being air lifted off the Lake Louise downhill in on Dec. 3 from a crash that resulted in severe facial lacerations. Ross also raced with a four screws and a titanium plate on her left pinky after fracturing the bone playing football on Dec. 31.

Lindsey Vonn was 18th and missed the super G podium for the first time since Dec. 29, 2009—a 19-race SG podium streak.

Mancuso said, "It's always good to finish in the top 10. I think my skiing is better than that, but from third place on it's really close. Sometimes it just takes a couple of tenths and you're right in there. It was still a good weekend and I'll take it with me to Cortina. I've had a lot of success there and I know the hill really well."

Said Vonn, "I felt OK on the start but I didn't really have the self-confidence and I didn't have the power that I normally have. I am still not myself and I am going to try to rest up the next couple of days and hopefully get a day of training in before Cortina to try to get my form back.

"For Cortina, I want to feel confident again and get back on the right track. I definitely struggled this weekend but I am not going to put too much weight into it. For me, it's easy to overanalyze and say, why did this happen? I always do well after I had a setback. That gives me motivation."

On Saturday, the 27-year-old Mancuso stormed to second place and led three Americans into the top 10 during the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup downhill in Bad Kleinkirchheim.

Downill leader Vonn survived a big mistake right out of the starting gate to finish fourth, missing the podium by a mere five hundredths. Reigning downhill world champion Austrian Elisabeth Goergl of Austria won for her first World Cup downhill victory.

For Mancuso, it was her best downhill finish since winning World Cup Finals last March. She has now been on the World Cup podium for downhill, super G and giant slalom this season.

Said Mancuso, "It was very difficult and I was hoping for the win, but you had to hold on and fight. It was set pretty straight at the bottom, so you can go really fast, but you pay for it if you can't hold the line. The light and conditions were really tough. You have to make a lot of direction before the hill just drops away. You're fighting it the whole way."

Vonn said, "I didn't really have a good feeling from the very beginning. My balance and my energy weren't quite there. I've been struggling with being sick and I'm trying to find my strength again.

Men racing at Adelboden

Ted Ligety, 27, of Park City, Utah was fourth in the classic Adelboden giant slalom Saturday to retain his discipline lead and jump to third place in the overall standings. Marcel Hirscher of Austria won for the second straight race to boost his Audi FIS Alpine World Cup overall lead.

American Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV) was 20th as varied snow conditions and sleet made for an extremely challenging second run.

On Sunday, Nolan Kasper (Warren, VT) was 9th in a rugged Adelboden slalom as Austrian Marcel Hirscher won his third consecutive Audi FIS Alpine World Cup race.

Hirscher, who pushed his World Cup overall lead to 230 points, began his streak with a slalom win in Zagreb, Croatia and also won Saturday's giant slalom in Adelboden. Will Brandenburg (Spokane, WA) was 22rd for his first points of the season as 23 racers failed to finish the first run.

Heavy wet snow fell throughout the race covering an already soft course. Ligety qualified for the final, but failed to finish the second run. Americans Bode Miller, Jimmy Cochran, Will Gregorak and Colby Granstrom did not finish the first run

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