Wednesday, January 23, 2013

In downhill, Vonn collects 58th World Cup win

Lindsey Vonn (right) and Leanne Smith after finishing first and third in Saturday’s Audi FIS Alpine World Cup downhill at Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. Photo by Doug Haney/U.S. Ski Team

American skiing star Lindsey Vonn, 28, of Vail, Colo. has posted her 58th World Cup victory and fifth of the 2012-13 Audi FIS World Cup season.

On Saturday Vonn clocked a .43-second downhill win over current World Cup overall leader Tina Maze of Slovenia at Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

Vonn moved up to just four wins shy of the all-time World Cup women’s victory total of 62 held by Austria’s Annemarie Moser-Proell.

The four-time World Cup overall queen, Vonn extended her downhill discipline lead to 340-211 over teammate Stacey Cook after five downhills.

Despite missing a large number of races due to illness this season, Vonn still stands fourth in the World Cup overall standings, leading three Americans into the top 10.

Maze, seeking her first World Cup overall title, picked up 140 points at Cortina and extended her huge point total to 1,474 points. Last winter, Maze amassed 1,402 points for the entire race season to place second to Vonn (1,980).

Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch remained in second place with 756 and Austria’s Anna Fenninger moved into third place with 644.

Vonn’s 136 points at Cortina pulled the native Minnesotan up two places into fourth place overall with 640 points. Teenage slalom sensation Mikaela Shiffrin (526 points) is in seventh place and Julia Mancuso, 28, is eighth (521).

The World Cup men competed in the 83rd Lauberhorn race weekend at Wengen, Switz. including the longest downhill on the World Cup.

Austria’s Marcel Hirscher continued to lead the men’s overall standings 935-747 over Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway. U.S. technical star Ted Ligety is in third place with 696 points. Ligety’s lead in the GS standings over Hirscher is 125 points, a margin of 460-335.

Coming up: The men’s tour visits Kitzbuehel, Austria for the annual Hahnenkamm weekend Friday through Sunday, Jan. 25-27 with downhill, super giant slalom and slalom. The women are in Maribor, Slovenia Jan. 26-27 for giant slalom and slalom events.

Speed racing at Cortina, Italy

Vonn climbed back on the top step of the podium Saturday winning the Cortina downhill with teammate Leanne Smith, 25, of North Conway, N.H. third—her second podium of the season.

“It was a perfect day,” said Vonn. “Right away from inspection the sun was shining and the snow was perfect.

“I feel so comfortable here in Cortina and I knew it would be a good day. I just skied the best I could, executed my plan and it worked out. I skied a really good line on the bottom and was able to carry good speed to the finish.”

Added Smith, “There are hard workers on this team. Everybody wants to help each other out and see each other do well. When you see a teammate come down and podium you say ‘hey, I can do that, too.’ It’s kind of nice to be on the U.S. Ski Team right now. We're having fun.”

In Sunday’s super giant slalom Mancuso placed fifth to lead three USST women into the top seven as Germany's Viktoria Rebensburg picked up the win. Leanne Smith was sixth and Vonn seventh.

With her third place in Sunday’s SG, Maze slipped past Vonn 290-286 into first place in the Audi FIS World Cup super G standings, with Mancuso third (225). It was the final speed event before next month's FIS Alpine Ski World Championships in Schladming, Aust.

Mancuso survived a scare coming out of the start where she lost her pole and almost went out. She mastered challenging weather conditions with heavy, wet snow falling throughout the race.


World Cup men at Wengen

Ligety was well on his way to the Wengen super combined podium Friday when his inside ski rattled off just three gates before the finish ensuring Alexis Pinterault of France the victory.

Reigning Junior World combined champion Ryan Cochran-Siegle of Vermont made a solid case for a berth on the 2013 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships team by finishing 25th for his first Audi FIS Alpine World Cup points in the discipline.

On Saturday, 32-year-old Marco Sullivan of Squaw Valley, Ca. led the U.S. Ski Team Saturday finishing 13th in the fabled Lauberhorn, one of the most punishing downhills on the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup. Italian Christof Innerhofer took the win.

Ligety did not ski the downhill but caught a break when World Cup overall challenger Aksel Lund-Svindal of Norway went out.

Sullivan said, “Today was not my best performance here. It was not a bad result but I was really hoping to capitalize on my early start number which is always seen as an advantage on this long course that gets continuously more bumpy as the day wears on. The result did move me back into the top ten in the season downhill standings.

“Innerhofer skied the key turns flawlessly. He told me that when he was in the start he had a feeling that he has never had before. He wanted to risk everything and he did not care of the consequences. In other words he was in the zone and he executed his plan. Congrats to him, it is always a special thing to see racers win on these classic downhills.”

In Sunday’s slalom, Ligety skied to 13th in the Wengen slalom to close out the Lauberhorn weekend. Germany's Felix Neureuther won by .21 over Audi FIS Alpine World Cup leader Hirscher.

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