Vonn leads combined event, day after fracturing left knee
February 28, 2016
SOLDEU-EL TARTER, Andorra — Lindsey Vonn posted the fastest time in the first run of a women's World Cup Alpine combined event, one day after fracturing her left knee in a super-G crash.
Wearing braces on both knees, the American timed 57.04 seconds in the super-G run on the Aliga course to lead American teammate Laurenne Ross and Sweden's Kajsa Kling, who both came 0.26 behind.
Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia was 0.41 back in fourth, while Lara Gut of Switzerland was fifth and had 0.43 to make up in the slalom run later Sunday.
Vonn leads Gut by eight points in the overall standings, while the Swiss skier won the only previous combined event this season and tops the discipline standings.
Organizers had pushed back the start of the event by 90 minutes to allow fresh snow to be moved off the course.
Winds and snowfall had also forced a three-hour delay of Saturday's race, in which Vonn crashed after catching a spot of soft snow. Vonn later said she had sustained a hairline fracture and was set to undergo an MRI scan on Monday.
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Hours before Sunday's race, Vonn said on her Facebook page, "Drained my knee a few times and it's feeling a little better. Going to go up on the hill and see how it feels."
Vonn decided to start after inspecting the course and skiing a few turns. She trailed then leader Ross by 0.36 halfway down the course but won by more than a half-second on her teammate with a strong finish.
Vonn screamed for joy after finishing, holding both arms and ski poles up in the air while waving to the spectators.
Gut, who won this season's first combined event in Val d'Isere, France, in December, also gained time with flawless skiing on the bottom part of the course, reducing her deficit on Ross from 0.64 to just 0.17.
Vonn's American teammate Mikaela Shiffrin had 1.93 to make up in the slalom, her strongest discipline. The Olympic slalom champion is competing in her first ever combined event.
Federica Brignone of Italy, who won Saturday's race for her first career victory in a speed event, trailed Vonn by 0.55.