Vail’s Vonn takes 2nd in World Cup super-G
ALTENMARKT-ZAUCHENSEE, Austria – Lindsey Vonn made a couple of mistakes and Swiss teen Lara Gut capitalized, putting aside off-the-slopes struggles to win Sunday’s World Cup super-G race for her second career victory.
The 19-year-old Swiss had a near-flawless run on the demanding Kaelberloch course to finish in 1 minute, 12.82 seconds and beat Vonn by 0.53.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” said Gut, whose first victory also came in a super-G, in December 2008 at St. Moritz, Switzerland.
Vonn was disappointed to see her leading time beaten, but she was not surprised by Gut’s performance.
“I knew she was going to have a good run and thought my time wasn’t good enough to hold up,” said Vonn, who won the only previous super-G this season, at Lake Louise, Alberta, in December.
The three-time defending overall champion lost speed as she almost fell in a right turn and had both hands in the snow to avoid crashing.
“I am happy with second,” she said. “I made a couple of mistakes today and almost fell on the bottom. I just caught some soft snow and almost went on my hip. Thankfully I finished the race.”
Gut’s teammate Dominique Gisin was 0.72 seconds behind in third.
Maria Riesch of Germany took sixth to keep her lead in the overall standings with 923 points, followed by Vonn on 827.
Julia Mancuso placed 16th and Laurenne Ross was 23rd for the U.S.
Gut missed the entire Olympic season last winter because of a dislocated hip and said the victory would help her continue to rebuild her confidence.
“After the last two years, this is really good for me,” she said. “I love this course as I won my first junior world championship medal here.”
Gut has quarreled this season with the Swiss ski federation, which suspended her for two races for publicly criticizing a coach and ignoring warnings to comply with guidelines on wearing official team clothes.
“I’ve put that whole story behind me now,” she said. “That’s the past and it’s useless to think about it any longer.”
Gut started 24th after all the favorites had already gone and led Vonn’s time throughout her run, almost building too much speed on the turny course.
“I had to brake a little to make a double gate toward the end,” she said. “I had time to watch all the others. I saw where they made mistakes so I knew where to be careful. It was not perfect, but I went out attacking and had just a few errors.”
Despite missing out on back-to-back wins, Vonn was satisfied with racking up 180 points in two days.
“Definitely (finishing) first and second is a great weekend, I am really happy with that,” she said.
The women’s circuit continues in nearby Flachau with a night slalom Tuesday.