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Vail’s Vonn, Schleper ready for Aspen

Daily Staff Report
Newsroom@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO Colorado
Lindsey Vonn of the United States celebrates her second place after completing an alpine ski, women's World Cup Slalom, in Levi, Finland, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)
ASSOCIATED PRESS | AP

ASPEN, Colorado – The women’s U.S. Alpine Ski Team is set to charge this weekend as the Aspen Winternational, the only women’s World Cup stop in America, starts today at 10 a.m. with a giant slalom.

Kicking out today and in Sunday’s slalom is two-time World Cup overall champion Lindsey Vonn along with 2006 Olympic GS gold medalist Julia Mancuso and World Cup winner Sarah Schleper.

Joining the trio in GS are Megan McJames, Leanne Smith and downhiller Stacey Cook (Mammoth, CA), who fought for the final spot via inter squad time trial earlier in the week.-

NBC will air coverage of the GS at 1 p.m. MT on Sunday.-Live coverage is also available on http://www.UniversalSports.com.

“I really enjoy Aspen, especially because my friends and family are here. The ‘Vonntourage’ definitely is in full force and that gets me fired up to try and do well for them and for the home crowd,” said Vonn, who was fourth in both GS andslalom last season at Aspen. “I feel like it’s the one chance where I can really show Americans how exciting ski racing is and how well the Americans are doing.”

Vonn’s GS fourth last season was a career best in the discipline, but she’s looking to upgrade that mark this time around. The double World Championship gold medalist is the only American woman to win in four different World Cup events, leaving only a GS podium off her resume.

“Last year, I felt like it was a really good result, but I think I can do more and I’m definitely hoping that this year I can do a little bit better,” said the Olympics-bound Vonn.

Jumping into the-slalom mix are Hailey Duke, Kaylin Richardson, Sterling Grant and Julia Ford. Both Duke and Grant posted their first World Cup points at last winter’s Aspen slalom and Richardson is fresh off a stunning World Cup performance two weeks ago in Levi, Finland where she stormed out of the 70th start position to finish 23rd.

“Aspen is so great because it’s the only World Cup we get to race in our home country, but the best thing about Aspen is that it’s an awesome course – it keeps coming at you the entire time,” said Richardson, a two-time U.S. downhill champion. “There’s a little bit of flats, it’s rolly, it’s steeper and something is always happening.”

Miller, Ganong lead downhill training

LAKE LOUISE, Alberta – Bode Miller led the way for the U.S. Ski Team Friday, finishing second during the final downhill training in Lake Louise, Alberta. Today’s World Cup downhill will be the first speed race for Miller since World Championships in February last season.

Following Miller was Travis Ganong, who finished 13th, and Andrew Weibrecht who was 14th. Both came from the back of the pack with Ganong starting 79th and Weibrecht 68th in a field of 94.

With his finish, Ganong earned a start spot from the team to compete Saturday in what will be the first World Cup start of his career.

Along with Miller, Ganong and Weibrecht, today’s downhill starters also include Marco Sullivan, Scott Macartney, Steven Nyman, TJ Lanning, Erik Fisher and Jeremy Transue.

Sullivan, Miller, Macartney, Nyman, Lanning, Weibrecht, Fisher, Transue and Ted Ligety will be starting in Sunday’s super-G.

Racing in Lake Louise will be available live on Universal Sports TV as well as UniversalSports.com.


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