Mancuso 13th in Aspen GS; Weibrecht 12th in Lake Louise DH
November 28, 2009 —
ASPEN - Under overcast skies on Aspen's Strawpile run, Olympic champion Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) was the top finisher for the U.S. Saturday, coming 13th during the GS at the Aspen Winternational World Cup. Germany's Kathrin Hoelzl won the race.
"I am psyched to get two solid runs in. The second run could have been better, but I made it to the finish and it feels pretty good," Mancuso said. "It's really good. I hope to get back into the top 15. I'm right outside, so hopefully I can get enough points to get in there."
Joining Hoelzl on the women's podium were Austrian Kathrin Zettel in second and Federica Brignone of Italy in third.
According to Mancuso, while the course did present some difficulty with light and ski chatter, she is pleased with a result that alludes to the return of good results and continuity in her racing.
"The course was a little bit difficult for me. It was hard to get my rhythm. I definitely could have done better, but it felt good to get two solid runs. It's a lot better than Soelden and it's a good place to start," Mancuso said. "I like hard snow, but I don't like it too chattery. This was a little chattery and hopefully we'll get better conditions tomorrow."
And for Mancuso, it's all about today as she looks ahead to the rest of her 2010 season positively.
"It helps a lot just to know I can charge again and really just go for it. It's made a big difference because I don't want to be tentative when I leave the start gate," Mancuso said.
Following Mancuso for the U.S. was Colorado native Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO) who raced with her family cheering her on to finish 23rd. According to Schleper, the Strawpile course presented a lot of challenges for the racers and required a lot of confidence.
"I think I skied the top well and the course was so smooth this time when I went down. But, I went a little too round and I think I was too conservative," Schleper said. "The middle section here is so technically demanding. The terrain is so undulating and it's the iciest part of the course so if you're not charging and super confident it's really easy to lose time out there."
Megan McJames (Park City, UT) also made the second run of the race and was hammering the top of the course during run two when she slid out and did not finish.
The crowd in Aspen was fired up for the U.S. Team and, in particular, for World Champion and World Cup overall champion Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) to race. But, a rock on the course threw the powerhouse off kilter and she was unable to make the top 30.
"I hit a rock about halfway down and my right foot just wasn't holding anymore. I slid out about four times." Vonn said. "I was just trying to make it down and I was laughing at myself because of how big of a tool I looked like. On this pond ice you really have no chance unless you have a sharp edge."
But, it was the fans in the finish that lifted Vonn's spirits, and as she waved to a group of young girls boasting a Lindsey Vonn poster, she explained what she hopes from Sunday's slalom race in Aspen.
"These guys are out here cheering for me and they don't care if I came in last place, they're still cheering me on and that definitely makes me happy because today was not my best day," Vonn said. "Aspen is the toughest place for me. It has so much terrain and its pond ice, but I'll do the best I can and hopefully tomorrow goes better."
Fans can watch today's slalom live on UniversalSports.com and Universal Sports TV starting at noon ET for the first run and 3 p.m. ET for the second.
Weibrecht 12th in Lake Louise downhill
LAKE LOUISE, Alberta, Canada - The U.S. Ski Team's Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, NY) charged from the 62nd start position through heavy snow on the tricky Lake Louise downhill course to finish 12th in Saturday's World Cup race. Switzerland's Didier Cuche won to mark his 11th World Cup victory.
"I had a good run. I just hammered, skied clean, hit all the spots in the line and maybe got some good light before I went," Weibrecht said. "I've never had a whole lot of success at Lake Louise. It's not a track I like all that much, so it was great to get a good one in out here."
It was the first downhill of the Audi FIS World Cup season. Rounding out the podium was Italy's Werner Heel, who finished second, and Carlo Janka of Switzerland in third.
Men's Alpine Head Coach Sasha Rearick was impressed for Weibrecht to have skied from the back of the pack to 12th.
"Andrew skied fantastically. He was very aggressive from top to bottom. He had a bobble on the bottom flats, but besides that it was great skiing from the back," Rearick said. "With a start number like that it wasn't easy and he did and amazing job."
The day of racing, however, was marred for much of the Team as TJ Lanning (Park City, UT) was injured when he crashed.
According to U.S. Ski Team Medical Director Richard Quincy, Lanning suffered an injury to his left knee. He was evacuated by helicopter from on-course to a clinic at the base of the mountain for preliminary observation and was transported to a hospital in Banff for further evaluation.
"What happened to TJ is a bummer. He's one of my really good buddies, so it definitely put a shadow over everything," Weibrecht said.
"The rest of the guys all ran right after TJ so it was really tough to put that out of their mind. It was a very long course hold and that was hard," Rearick added.
Following Weibrecht for the U.S. was Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) in 29th and Jeremy Transue (Hunter, NY) in 50th.
According to Rearick, to start after Lanning and finish so well was also exceptional.
"I am especially impressed that he was able to put TJ's injury out of his head when it came time to race," Rearick said. "I am very impressed with that performance."
The men move on to super G racing today. Racing will be live on UniversalSports.com as well as Universal Sports TV starting at 1:15 p.m. ET.
"I'm psyched for [today]. I think super G was going really well for me this summer and I'm going to stick to my plan," Weibrecht said.
2010 AUDI FIS ALPINE WORLD CUP
Lake Louise, AB – Nov. 28, 2009
1. Didier Cuche, Switzerland, 1:50.31
2. Werner Heel, Italy, 1:50.75
3. Carlo Janka, Switzerland, 1:50.93
4. Michael Walchhofer, Austria, 1:50.98
5. Ambrosi Hoffmann, Switzerland, 1:51.07
12. Andrew Weibrecht, Lake Placid, NY, 1:51.41
29. Bode Miller, Franconia, NH, 1:52.42
50. Jeremy Transue, Hunter, NY, 1:53.16
53. Marco Sullivan, Squaw Valley, CA, 1:53.31
60. Erik Fisher, Middleton, ID, 1:53.70
64. Steven Nyman, Sundance, UT, 1:54.38
71. Scott Macartney, Crystal Mountain, WA, 1:58.34
DNF: TJ Lanning, Park City, UT; Travis Ganong, Squaw Valley, CA
2010 AUDI FIS ALPINE WORLD CUP
Aspen, CO – Nov. 28, 2009
1. Kathrin Hoelzl, Germany, 2:09:63
2. Kathrin Zettel, Austria, 2:09.87
3. Federica Brignone, Italy, 2:10.76
4. Maria Pietilae-Holmner, Sewden, 2:11.18
5. Eva-Maria Brem, Austria
13. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA, 2:12.79
23. Sarah Schleper, Vail, CO, 2:13.75
- (top 30 qualify for second run)
39. Lindsey Vonn, Vail, CO, 1:08.33
42. Leanne Smith, Conway, NH, 1:08.58
45. Stacey Cook, Mammoth Mountain, CA, 1:09.15
DNF2: Megan McJames, Park City, UT
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