Vonn back in winner's circle with victory in super G
Courtesy of www.fisalpine.com
By Shauna Farnell
Cortina D'Ampezzo, Italy (Sports Network) - All it took was a little reminder of what she's capable of for Lindsey Vonn to notch the 47th World Cup victory of her career in the super G in sunny Cortina on Sunday.
The American led by more than one second at one point while on course and although she dropped a little speed, she crossed the finish line in 1 minute, 26.16 seconds, more than a half a second faster than anyone else. Maria Hoefl- Riesch was next in line, also stepping upon her second back-to-back podium in Cortina, finishing 0.61 seconds behind Vonn. Also overcoming her virus from last week, Tina Maze rounded out the podium, taking third, 0.86 seconds back.
There was no wind afflicting the conditions on Sunday and the aggressive snow and fast, rolling course left little room for error.
Vonn, who was second to Daniela Merighetti in the downhill on Saturday, said she was feeling on her game from the minute she woke up on Sunday.
"I tried to come out today and take a lot of risks," said Vonn, who with her 47th win, surpasses Austrian Renate Goetschl as the woman with the third-most World Cup victories of all time (Austria's Annemarie Moser-Proell still holds the record with 62 wins and Switzerland's Vreni Schneider is next with 55).
"I was definitely on the limit a couple of times," Vonn said. "I felt I skied the technical section of the course well. I think it was a combination of having pushed the line but letting it run out and being close to the limit. I was close to going out, but I don't think it necessarily cost me a lot of time. I was always letting my skis run, but I was skiing a tight, aggressive line. I think it was the right amount of risk for this course. You really had to push it. It was a fast course, you had to have a tight line and be prepared for the terrain. I had a fun time out there today."
Vonn said the most important thing to take away from her winning weekend in one of her favorite venues (where she landed her first Cup podium back in 2004) is a strong dose of confidence, which was at somewhat of a deficit following her bout of stomach sickness and 16th-place SG finish last week in Bad Kleinkirchheim.
"I really wanted to improve upon my not-so-great finish," she said. "Now I have all the confidence for the rest of the season. I'm back to where I want to be. It was tough last week. I wasn't healthy. I wasn't strong. Now I feel like everything is coming back. For me, confidence is everything. Now I have the confidence and now I know I can continue to push it for the rest of the season. It's been a great weekend."
For Hoefl-Riesch, the weekend also served as a big confidence booster. The German 2011 World Cup overall champion had a decent run of the speed opening weekend in Lake Louise, finishing fifth in the super G and sixth and ninth in the downhill races, but was 21st in the Beaver Creek SG then had to miss last weekend's races in Austria because she was in bed with the flu. Cortina also holds a certain significance for the German. It is here that she tore knee ligaments in 2007 but has since had mostly positive experiences, including her downhill win last year and Saturday's third place followed by another podium Sunday.
"This was my first speed podium of the season in downhill and super G. It was my goal before the season that I can do results like this," Hoefl-Riesch said, adding that although she finished on the podium again, her run was not completely flawless. "I did some mistakes in the middle section where I lost some time, because Lindsey was leading by more than a second at the last split. She definitely skied this section the best - really aggressive. I was a little low sometimes and a little too defensive. But all in all, it was a good run. I took all the speed I could and I'm happy with this result."
When asked what it took for her to turn her speed results around this weekend, Hoefl-Riesch couldn't quite put her finger on it.
"I just tried to concentrate on my strengths and believe in myself and trust in what I can," she said. "Maybe the expectations were not so high anymore like in the beginning of the season, so it was a little bit easier."
Maze, who while standing in the leader's box opened her jacket to reveal a sports bra that read "not your business," broke her no-podium curse at Cortina, where she was sick with a stomach flu during DH training last week but surged to fourth place (her fifth time just missing the podium here) on Saturday and was pleased to finally land a podium on Sunday.
"Yes, finally!" she said, adding that she is not totally back to normal health but is clearly feeling good enough to post a threat. "I'm not 100 percent, that's for sure. But I'm OK, not so bad."
Maze said that although Cortina is silky smooth and the sun is usually shining, the course itself is no walk in the park, as evidenced in her case by never having podiumed here before Sunday despite 23 World Cup starts at the venue since 2001.
"It's a tough hill even though it seems not," she said. "One the inspection, I looked good and I was watching the course. It's not easy to ski. It's a lot of waves. If you do mistakes, there is no chance. It was nice to ski even though it was hard."
There were only two other racers who finished within a second of Vonn's winning time on Sunday. These were Austrian Elisabeth Goergl, who took fourth, 0.97 seconds back, and Julia Mancuso fifth, 0.98 seconds back. Following Sweden's Jessica Lindell-Vikarby, who finished sixth, 1.03 seconds back, the field was quite spread out. Lara Gut finished seventh, 1.20 seconds back, her teammate, last weekend's star Fabienne Suter was eighth, 1.50 seconds back, Anja Paerson had another solid result in Cortina with ninth, 1.52 seconds back and American Leanne Smith posted her best SG result since last year in Cortina in 10th, 1.80 back.
Vonn leads the current overall Cup standings with 884 points and now Maze is the nearest to her with 593 points while slalom star Marlies Schild now sits in third with 540 points.
Women's World Cup racing continues next weekend with giant slalom and slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia (moved from Maribor).
OFFICIAL RESULTS - CORTNIA-D'AMPEZZO
Women's Super G
1. Lindsey Vonn, USA, 1:26.16; 2. Maria Hoefl-Riesch, GER, 1:26.77; 3. Tina Maze, SLO, 1:27.02; 4. Elisabeth Goergl, AUT, 1:27.13; 5. Julia Mancuso, USA, 1:27.14; 6. Jessica Lindell-Vikarby, SWE, 1:27.19; 7. Lara Gut, SUI, 1:27.16; 8. Fabienne Suter, SUI, 1:27.66; 9. Anja Paerson, SWE, 1:27.68; 10. Leanne Smith, USA, 1:27.68.
Other North Americans
13. Laurenne Ross, USA, 1:28.14; 26. Stacey Cook, USA, 1:28.95; 38. Alice McKennis, USA, 1:31.95
Did not finish 1st run
Larisa Yurkiw, CAN; Marie-Pier Prefontaine, CAN; Sarah Freeman, CAN
01/15 10:56:18 ET