Vail’s Vonn second at Lake Louise
Vail, CO Colorado
LAKE LOUISE, Alberta – Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn kept her success streak at Lake Louise alive finishing second in the opening downhill of the 2011 FIS Alpine World Cup season as seven Americans stormed the top 30.
Germany’s Maria Riesch captured the win and holds the early overall World Cup lead, while a surging Julia Mancuso was just shy of the podium in fourth.
Both Vonn and Mancuso debuted personally-designed Spyder speed suits during the women’s downhill opener. For the third season, Vonn will wear a new Spyder design for each speed weekend this winter.
“I thought I skied really well and unfortunately it wasn’t enough for the win today, but I’m really happy with second place,” said a sniffling Vonn who is fighting a head cold. “It’s just a cold. I’ve raced through a lot worse things than a cold so I didn’t even consider not racing today.”
Vonn has a career 12 podium finishes in Lake Louise since earning the first World Cup victory there in 2004. She had carried a record streak of five consecutive downhill wins into today’s race.
With clear skies and a hard track, Friday’s downhill was a tight race with the top three all within two tenths. Riesch (1 minute, 28.96seconds) bumped friend and rival Vonn (1:29.08) out of the hot seat by a mere 0.12 seconds, while Austria’s Elisabeth Goergl closed out the podium.
“The whole U.S. team did a great job,” added Vonn. “We had seven girls in the top 30 and that just shows that we are skiing really well as a team. We’ve shown in training that we can be fast and I’m glad we stepped it up for the race.”
Mancuso said she was skiing while thinking of best friend Chemmy Alcott of Great Brittan, who suffered a broken leg in the final training run Thursday.
“I skied solid, but there’s definitely room to go faster,” said Mancuso, who was on her way to visit Alcott at the hospital in nearby Banff. “I had a long day yesterday just worrying about my friend and going to the hospital just waiting her for her to get done with surgery, so it’s nice to have a solid race run under my belt.”
Alice McKennis, of Glenwood Springs, ran first and spent a good portion of time in the leader box before slipping to 11th. Leanne Smith, Laurenne Ross, Stacey Cook and Chelsea Marshall all scored World Cup points by landing inside the top 30.
“Conditions were awesome, hard, icy and very challenging for the girls – it was a very good race,” said American coach Alex Hoedlmoser. “Pretty much the whole downhill team is producing results and that’s good to see. Everyone is really fired up for tomorrow to have a better result than today. The girls aren’t even satisfied with their rankings, so it’s good for them all.”
“Everyone skied really well,” added Mancuso. “A couple people had higher expectations because of the training runs, but in general this was pretty cool.”
The women will be in the start house again Today for a second FIS Alpine World Cup downhill in Lake Louise.
Universal Sports will air the race live on both http://www.UniversalSports.com and its 24-hour TV network.
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