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American women blanked in Aspen; Ligety 8th in Lake Louise super-G


American women blanked in Aspen; Ligety 8th in Lake Louise super-G


November 29, 2009 —  ASPEN - The Czech Republic's Sarka Zahrobska took her first run lead and parlayed it into the second World Cup slalom win in as many years at the Aspen Winternational Sunday. No U.S. Women qualified for the second run.

Austrians Marlies Schild and Kathrin Zettel followed Zahrobska on the podium in second and third, respectively.

The fans showed up to the Aspen Winternational in full force during the weekend, making historic attendance numbers for the early season women's World Cup in Colorado.

It was a somber day for the U.S. Women's Alpine Team with no athletes making the top 30 cut for the second run.

"I'm very disappointed. This is not an indication of how we ski and how we've been training. This is an embarrassing day for us," Women's Alpine Head Coach Jim Tracy said.

Many of the racers had challenges with the challenging, icy race course but according to Tracy, the athletes have to be able to adapt to all conditions of the race.

"There were some slick spots up there for sure, but we've been on it before and we train on this stuff. It's easy to say that, but to me it's an excuse," Tracy said. "It isn't for some others and those other ones are going to be on the podium and they're going to gain World Cup points. We train on it. We have trained on it. We just didn't mentally do what we needed to do today."

Kaylin Richardson (Edina, MN) was the top finisher for the U.S. in 34th.

"If I could have done today over again I would have done some things differently. I learned my lesson that you have to attack and put it all on the line every single race," said Richardson, who did just that in the opening slalom at Levi, Finland, moving from the 70th start position to finish 23rd in the race. "The course was in perfect condition, the set was a little bit tricky, but that doesn't mean you hold back. I was holding on a little bit the whole way down."

The first racer up for the U.S. was fan favorite Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) who, after going out in Sunday's race, was disappointed that she was unable to give a crowd pleaser despite trying her hardest.

"It's been a disappointing weekend. Obviously it wasn't what I was hoping for and what the U.S. fans were hoping for, but I did my best," Vonn said. "I think I've gotten a little bit unlucky, but hopefully that's out of the way. My husband said that lightning struck twice this weekend."

According to Vonn, her skis locked on the hard surface and rocketed her off course.

"I felt like I was skiing OK on the top, but not my best, and then I just got shot off the course. There's nothing I could do about it. Sometimes things just don't go your way," Vonn said. "Lake Louise is a place where I can build confidence back and get happy again. I'm just looking forward to skiing some downhill."

"The course is a little bit more like a GS on the top and it catches up to you so you just have to be smart," said Hailey Duke (Boise, ID) who was 34th. "If you ski it well, there's not much to get in your way but yourself."

It was a unique experience for Julia Ford (Plymouth, NH) who marked the slalom in Aspen as the first World Cup start of her career.

"It feels good to just get it under my belt. It took a lot of effort and I was just trying to stick with it. I got thrown around and made some mistakes but I was determined to get down," Ford said. "The hill was intense today and the course was challenging."

The Team remains in North America as the athletes now head to Lake Louise in Alberta for speed races.

Ligety turns in third speed-event top 10

LAKE LOUISE, Alberta, Canada - Olympic Champion Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) stepped up his status as an all around skier as he notched the third top-10 career result in a speed event Sunday as he finished eighth in the super G in the Audi FIS World Cup in Lake Louise.

"It's nice to come down like that. I'm pretty psyched about it especially since I've been so slow in the downhill training runs here, and even the training in Copper. So to get eighth is a surprise." Ligety said.

While his primary focus has been primarily with technical events, Ligety said he was able to put more emphasis on the super G because of its similarities to GS as well as its minimal time constraints.

"The last few years I have been working hard on the speed aspects, but I've been trying hard not to let it affect my GS and slalom so much," Ligety said. "So, super G is good because it only takes one day to do, but downhill is tough because it's four days, so I can't focus on it that much."

One thing working in Ligety's favor was a course set by Speed Head Coach Chris Brigham that incorporated both speed and turns.

"I was surprised because he set a course that used a little bit of the turns, so that helped me. It was pretty variable conditions. It was windy and dark, then the sun came out for some of the guys in the middle, but the whole way I skied pretty clean," Ligety said. "I couldn't think of any mistakes I made. I was getting bumped around a little bit on the flats and lost some time, but in the speed section I tried to stay ahead of it and skied like it was a GS. That worked out well for me."

Also on point for the U.S. Sunday was Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, NY) who, for the second time in as many days, finished 12th in Lake Louise.

"It was sweet to get two good results in both super G and downhill right out of the start. I'm excited about the day," Weibrecht said. "I was 30th on the board and if I went out today or didn't get a top result I would have been pushed out of the top 30, so it was pretty huge for me. Just to know I have that speed and consistency, it's awesome."

According to Weibrecht, he realized what he needs to do for his consistency - nothing.

"The last couple day's I've figured out that my skiing is there and I don't need to try to do anything fancy or special," Weibrecht said. "I just have to ski within myself and it will all come together. It's nice to know I don't have to totally shoot the moon to have the results that I need."

Rounding out the top 20 finishes for the U.S. men was Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA) who skied to 15th place.

"I had a big mistake and was 1.1 out in the first 30 seconds and only finished the race 1.27 out. At least I know that I am skiing well and hopefully I can eliminate those mistakes and be in there in the next couple weeks. It was a pretty good day for our team," Sullivan said.

Next up for the U.S. men is the Audi Birds of Prey Race Week at Beaver Creek.

Birds of Prey opens with super combined on Friday, Nov. 4 followed by the famed downhill on Saturday before wrapping with Ligety's bread and butter, the GS on Sunday.

"I'm going to be doing the combined and the GS up there and the GS has always been a great hill for me. I've been within a tenth or so of winning and it would be nice if I could get on the other side of that tenth," Ligety said. "It's also our only home race so it's nice to be racing in the U.S."

Lake Louise, AB – Nov. 29, 2009
Men's Super G

1. Manuel Osborne-Paradis, Canada, 1:32.93
2. Benjamin Raich, Austria, 1:33.17
3. Michael Walchhofer, Austria, 1:33.55
4. Erik Guay, Canada, 1:33.68
5. Robbie Dixon, Canada, 1:33.72
8. Ted Ligety, Park City, UT, 1:33.87
12. Andrew Weibrecht, Lake Placid, NY, 1:34.04
15. Marco Sullivan, Squaw Valley, CA, 1:34.20
23. Erik Fisher, Middleton, ID, 1:34.75
39. Bode Miller, Franconia, NH, 1:35.57
42. Jeremy Transue, Hunter, NY, 1:35.87
DNF: Travis Ganong, Squaw Valley, CA; Steven Nyman, Sundance, UT; Scott Macartney, Crystal Mountain, WA

Aspen, CO – Nov. 29, 2009
Women's Slalom

1. Sarka Zahrobska, Czech Republic, 1:43.45
2. Marlies Schild, Austria, 1:44.03
3. Kathrin Zettel, Austria, 1:44.22
4. Susanne Riesch, Gremany, 1:44.91
5. Maria Riesch, Germany, 1:45.40
34. Kaylin Richardson, Edina, MN, 58.04
35. Hailey Duke, Boise, ID, 58.11
37. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA, 58.70
39. Sarah Schleper, Vail, CO, 58.85
40. Sterling Grant, Amery, WI, 58.97
44. Julia Ford, Plymouth, WA, 1:00.43
DNF: Lindsey Vonn, Vail, CO



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