Mancuso of US gets boost with training win
AP Sports Writer
CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy – Struggling American skier Julia Mancuso got a boost Wednesday by posting the fastest time in an opening downhill training session.
Lindsey Vonn, a winner of the opening four downhills this season, was eighth.
Mancuso, seeking her first World Cup win in nearly three years, sped down the Olympia delle Tofane course in 1 minute, 40.17 seconds.
“I’ve had good training runs this year. I just have to have everything come together for the race,” Mancuso said.
Swiss skiers Fraenzi Aufdenblatten and Nadia Styger placed second and third, 0.24 seconds and 0.44 behind, respectively. Overall World Cup leader Maria Riesch of Germany was fourth.
Mancuso posted the first podium finishes of her career in Cortina four years ago on the eve of the Turin Games, when she upset the favorites to win the gold medal in giant slalom.
“Right now, the speed is definitely in a better place for a medal than (giant slalom), but anything is possible,” Mancuso said. “It would be a great deja vu if this weekend has some podiums on it.”
Overall, Mancuso has one victory and six podium places in her career in Cortina. But last season, her results here were 24th, 29th and 30th.
Mancuso’s best results this season were two 10th-place finishes, in a downhill and a super-G.
The session was run in perfect conditions, with hard snow and sunny skies. Still, the last skier on the course, Marie-Pier Prefontaine of Canada, fell through the finish line. She was carried away on a stretcher and taken to a hospital.
Another training run is scheduled for Thursday, followed by a super-G race Friday. A downhill is scheduled for Saturday and a giant slalom on Sunday.
After Cortina, the women have only one more weekend of racing – in St. Moritz, Switzerland – before the Vancouver Olympics, which open Feb. 12.
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