Maze leads after the downhill |

Maze leads after the downhill

Slovenia's Tina Maze is the lead after the downhill portion of the women's combined at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Beaver Creek on Monday. The slalom of the combined is at 2:15 p.m.
AP photo | AP photo

BEAVER CREEK — Slovenia’s Tina Maze is halfway home to taking the women’s combined of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships so far on Monday at Beaver Creek.

Maze, who has already won silver in the super-G and gold in the downhill last week at Worlds, came down the downhill leg of the combined with a time of 1 minute, 45.25 seconds, 2-hundredths of a second ahead of Switzerland’s Lara Gut. Austria’s Anna Fenninger is in third place (0.26 seconds behind) and American Lindsey Vonn is seventh (1.31 seconds off the pace).

Vonn said she hit a rock and had difficulty with her edges, particularly on right turns

“I just didn’t feel like I had any grip what so ever,” Vonn said. “I just talked to the Head (ski technicians) and I hit a rock. It’s pretty hard to hold an edge when you have no edge. But I tried my best. This ice doesn’t doesn’t really feel good on my knee. It’s pretty sore. I’m going to try as hard as I can in the slalom. Obviously, all the slalom skiers are fast in the downhill.”

Vonn was referring to her right knee, which she injured during the 2013 Worlds in Schladming, Austria. She’s gone through two surgeries to fix that knee.

The pressing question of the day is “Is it good thing to be running late during today’s slalom at 2:15 p.m.?”

Under normal circumstances, Maze would be favored to win the slalom and the ensuing combined, as the Slovenian is a better slalom skier than both Gut and Fenninger. Vonn has not run in a World Cup slalom this season, emphasizing the speed disciplines during her comeback.

However, with warmer than normal temperatures at Beaver Creek, snow conditions may deteriorate this afternoon, as was seen in Sunday’s men’s combined.

Remember that the start order is flipped for the slalom, meaning that the top downhill racer goes last during the second run. The men who fared poorly in the downhill, Austria’s Marcel Hirscher and American Ted Ligety, most notably, on Sunday got the benefit of skiing first on a relatively firm track, while the men’s leader were left with a slushy piste.

Hirscher, while he is a tremendous slalom skier in his own right, made up a whopping 3.16 seconds on Sunday, winning gold. Ligety, who skied second in slalom on Sunday, leapt from 29th place to the bronze medal. Meanwhile, Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud, who led Hirscher by 3.16 seconds and was the final racer of the day, saw his lead evaporate, and ended up with silver.

Monday’s weather conditions at Beaver Creek are eerily similar to those of Sunday, a factor which may open up the field to anyone in this afternoon’s slalom.

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