Julia Mancuso 2nd in super-G
AP Sports Writer
CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy ” Maria Holaus broke through for her first World Cup victory Sunday and Julia Mancuso finished second again, leaving the American still looking for her first win of the season.
Holaus took advantage of an early start position to win a sunny Super-G, covering the melting Olympia delle Tofane course in 1 minute, 24.63 seconds.
Mancuso, the Olympic giant slalom champion, finished 0.23 behind, and overall World Cup leader Nicole Hosp of Austria was third, 0.28 back.
The 24-year-old Holaus was once considered the top young prospect on the Austrian “Wunderteam.” Her development was slowed when she missed four years of racing due to three knee injuries.
She was the first skier on the course and benefited as the warm conditions softened and slowed the snow for the race favorites.
“I was very lucky with my No. 1 bib, No. 1 was the best number for today,” Holaus said. “It got warmer and warmer.”
The temperature at the finish was upward of 50 degrees.
Mancuso has finished second four times this season and third twice. Still, the American is third in the overall standings and has a shot at the season’s biggest trophy.
“I’m still trying to win a race this year, I’m going for that first,” said Mancuso, who won four races last season.
The near-misses haven’t dimmed Mancuso’s flair, which was on display Saturday when she showed up at the public bib draw in a Venetian mask.
“I’m just getting excited for Carnival,” she said. “It’s coming up soon.”
Holaus’ previous best performance was a third-place finish in a downhill in San Sicario, Italy, last season. In the Super-G, she had not finished higher than ninth, also in San Sicario a year ago.
The Austrian was nervous starting first.
“But the race went so fast I didn’t have time to think about it,” Holaus said.
Holaus roomed with Hosp at Austria’s renowned ski school Stams for four years and always thought her first victory would come in downhill.
“The super-G was nearly faster than the downhill,” Holaus said. “There were more turns but it was very fast. It was good for a downhiller.”
Holaus finished 17th in Saturday’s downhill, which Hosp skipped.
“I wanted to concentrate on super-G training and I got an extra two days to train,” Hosp said. “It was nice to have a little break. I think it was a good decision.”
Hosp holds a 759-683 lead on American Lindsey Vonn in the overall standings. Mancuso moved up from sixth to third with 639 points.
Emily Brydon of Canada finished fourth, 0.29 back, and Saturday’s downhill winner Vonn was fifth, 0.30 behind.
“I’m so close, only two-hundredths from the podium,” Vonn said. “The earlier skiers definitely had an advantage. Maybe I didn’t have a light enough touch on the snow.”
Renate Goetschl, the Austrian who holds a record 10 wins in Cortina, was faster than Holaus at the final checkpoint but lost time with a mistake on the even warmer bottom section and finished seventh.
“I didn’t see a gate in time and I had to go uphill a little bit on the flattest part of the course,” Goetschl said.
Triple world champion Anja Paerson finished 16th and maintained a slim 151-143 lead on Martina Schild in the super-G standings.
Another super-G is scheduled Monday on the Tofane and Mancuso is confident her breakthrough will come then.
“I’m going to rip it,” she said.