Riesch wins super-combi, Vonn still in lead
WHISTLER, British Columbia ” Germany’s Maria Riesch won the women’s super combined Sunday, edging Austria’s Marlies Schild by 0.09 seconds in the only World Cup event in Whistler before the 2010 Olympics.
Lindsey Vonn led the American contingent with a sixth-place finish, but her lead in the overall World Cup standing was trimmed to 54 points over Nicole Hosp after the Austrian finished fourth in the super combined.
Riesch, who was fastest in the morning’s super-giant slalom, took a careful line in the afternoon slalom run. She finished in 2 minutes, 10.07 seconds.
“I was a little lucky but you need some luck sometimes,” Riesch said. “I didn’t risk 100 percent in slalom, that’s why I lost a lot of time.”
Part of that had to do with a fall in the downhill on Friday.
“I didn’t want to go out again and go home with zero points,” Riesch said. “Maybe my slalom run was a little careful.”
Schild was fastest in the slalom, cutting far enough into Riesch’s lead to finish second. Sweden’s Anja Paerson was third in 2:10.38.
Vonn had to rally after a poor super-giant slalom put her in 10th place. Her slalom run was fourth-fastest in 48.02.
“The goal today was to fight hard and to not lose ground on Nicole, and I think I did that pretty well,” Vonn said. “It wasn’t a win, but it was a solid performance and I’m looking forward to the next three weeks.”
American Julia Mancuso finished seventh, Leanne Smith was 23rd and Chelsea Marshall 25th.
“I’m really satisfied with race I had,” Mancuso said. “The goal was to just go out, relax, and enjoy skiing, and that’s been working really well for me.”
The four races during the week were the first official test for the Olympics, where organizers spent millions on facility upgrades. Crowds of between 2,000 and 3,000 were on hand.
Most athletes praised the men’s super-giant slalom course and women’s downhill. There were some complaints the men’s giant slalom course wasn’t difficult enough, but Olympic officials said they received mostly positive feedback.
“For us, that was like getting an early report card with a few A’s on it,” said John Furlong, chief executive of the Vancouver Olympic Games Organizing Committee. “That was really positive.”
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