Vonn takes World Cup lead with win in super-combi race
AP Sports Writer
Vail, CO Colorado
VAL D’ISERE, France – Lindsey Vonn moved back to the top of the World Cup standings Sunday with another dominant performance in Val d’Isere, winning a super-combined race the day after a masterful downhill.
Vonn had the fastest time in the super-G in the morning and followed it up with an assured slalom run in the afternoon.
The victory gave Vonn 581 points in the overall standings, three more than rival Maria Riesch of Germany. Austria’s Elisabeth Goergl is far behind in third with 366.
“This weekend helps with the points, (but) it’s a long season, there’s a lot of races left to go,” Vonn said. “I’m not really looking at the points right now.”
The three-time defending overall champion captured her third win this season, all in different disciplines. She won a downhill on Saturday after a super-G victory over Riesch at Lake Louise, Alberta, this month.
“I was really happy with this weekend, it couldn’t have gone any better,” Vonn said. “I just haven’t trained very much slalom since the races in Aspen, so I felt confident, but I wasn’t exactly sure how it would go. I was definitely very nervous at the start.”
It was a good day for American skiers, with Ted Ligety winning his third straight giant slalom race at Alta Badia in Italy to take the lead in the men’s overall standings.
Vonn’s second straight victory came a day after she was honored as the 2010 Female Athlete of the Year as chosen by members of The Associated Press.
She beat two Swiss skiers in Saturday’s downhill, and this time held off two Austrians, Goergl in second and Nicole Hosp in third.
“I was a little bit more cautious on the top part of the course, but as soon as I got on the flats then I really tried to push the limits and go faster,” Vonn said. “I was happy with my slalom, I think it was a solid run.”
She is cautious about looking too far ahead, but is determined to improve on her 11 World Cup race wins last season.
“Try and do a little better than that,” Vonn said.
Swiss great Vreni Schneider holds the record for victories, winning 14 races in 1988-89.
Another Austrian, Anna Fenninger, finished fourth Sunday, and Riesch was fifth – regaining some form after a dismal 24th place in Saturday’s downhill.
Vonn was seventh fastest in the slalom, clocking 49.14 seconds to give her an overall time of 2 minutes, 7.80 seconds. Goergl was 0.46 seconds behind and Hosp was 0.69 back.
“I had a great slalom, I was happy with the super-G, too, because I hadn’t (done a) super-G for a long time,” Goergl said. “So it was a good test.”
Vonn has a remarkable record at Val d’Isere, whatever the slope or discipline.
She won World Cup downhill races here in 2005 and ’06, along with a downhill and super-G world championship double and a World Cup super-combi last year when it featured a downhill section.
This was her fourth World Cup super-combi career win, adding to two victories last year at Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria, and in Austria at St. Anton am Arlberg in 2007.
In her super-G run in the morning, Vonn trailed Daniela Merighetti by 0.27 seconds at the first time split and 0.45 on the second, but powered through the bottom section to finish in 1:18.66, putting her 0.20 ahead of the Italian.
Riesch could only manage 16th in the super-G, but had the fourth fastest slalom (48.77) to push her way into contention.
It was Goergl’s first World Cup podium since her third place in downhill at Lake Louise in March.
“I like Val d’Isere, I like the hill. It’s pretty flat, I like flat (because) it makes it easier for me in slalom,” she said. “The course was not really difficult so it was really easy to attack.”
In the morning, Many skiers struggled in overcast conditions to get a grip on a fluffy and bumpy top section in the super-G.
Vonn, who had a near miss on a turn Saturday, almost lost control again on one of Sunday’s tricky first gates.
Anja Paerson of Sweden, the former super-G world champion, lost an outside ski and did not finish. Swiss teenager Lara Gut, third in Saturday’s downhill behind Nadja Kamer and Vonn, finished 18th.
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