Ski Club Vail product Vonn nails second straight downhill win, 27th of her epic career
January 9, 2010 —
HAUS IM ENNSTAL, Austria - A plaid-clad Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) overcame a bone bruise on her left arm to tough out her fourth 2010 Audi FIS World Cup downhill win in as many races, pushing off for a fast start, building speed throughout her run on a course shortened by heavy fog Saturday in Austria.
"It was really tough,” Vonn said. “It was really short, and I knew that I had to be nearly perfect to be able to get a win today."
The race was delayed for two hours while athletes and spectators waited for fog to lift, and the start was moved to the reserve super G start – the lowest possible alternate.
In her grey and pink plaid Spyder racing suit, Vonn looked at ease despite admitting to trouble with starts at the onset of the weekend’s events. She took an early lead and held it over the early benchmark from Switzerland’s Nadja Kamer to win by .14 seconds, her narrowest margin of victory this season.
"I had a little trouble out of the start, I caught my pole in my legs,” said Vonn, who has made all but one World Cup downhill podium since February 2008 and has a commanding 164-point lead over Germany’s Maria Riesch in the downhill title chase, as well as a 99-point advantage in the overall standings. “I think that cost me a little bit of time, but thankfully I had a good run.”
Seeming right at home after a six-year break from racing in Haus im Ennstal, it was Vonn’s fifth consecutive World Cup downhill win, dating to the discipline’s championship last season.
"She’s very, very confident in speed," said women’s speed coach Alex Hoedelmoser. "The mental game is huge, she knows that she can beat everybody. Even today, with very, very tough conditions – especially when she ran, conditions changed and got worse – and she was able to do it. It’s pretty amazing."
The endless waiting didn’t faze the two-time defending crystal globe owner, who was the last to leave the finish area after signing autographs for every fan.
"This weekend has been a big confidence booster for me and a really good turn of events," Vonn said. "It didn’t look good for a while there."
Vonn’s continued dominance wasn’t the only bright spot for the U.S. team.
Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA) earned her first World Cup top 10 since March 2007, taking advantage of the early conditions and skiing to ninth with bib No. 2.
"I’m happy, I didn’t have any big mistakes," Cook said. "But it definitely adds a challenge to shorten the course. You don’t have as much time to think things through, it comes at you faster."
"It’s a hard thing for athletes to grasp being aggressive enough to make up the hundredths that are going to separate racers without being too aggressive so that you’re killing your speed," said Cook, who was also ninth in the downhill at the 2009 World Championships.
It snowed hard the entire race, and a significant headwind met racers on a bumpy course with flat light.
"I think it was a pretty big disadvantage to ski later today," Vonn said. "It definitely was an advantage to start earlier. I think around No. 12 or 13, it started to really snow harder."
Overcoming an even later position than Vonn, Olympic champion Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) was the third fastest through the first interval and finished a solid run in 11th.
Chelsea Marshall (Pittsfield, VT) took 19th for her best result since Tarvisio, Italy, in February, and Leanne Smith (North Conway, NH) just missed out on making the points for the third time since tearing her ACL last January.
For Vonn, Saturday’s triumph was the perfect sequel to Friday’s downhill victory in a make-up for Val D’Isere, France. She not only leads the World Cup standings in overall and downhill, but also super G, and will try to complete her speed event trilogy in Sunday’s super G at 5:30 a.m. ET.
“I just hope it doesn’t snow too much tonight, and I hope the track stays good,” Vonn said. “Tomorrow, I’m really gonna try to attack. I’ve been really close to a win in super G this year, but I haven’t quite done it.”
Fans can Watch it live on UniversalSports.com or follow same-day coverage on Universal Sports TV.
2010 Audi FIS World Cup
Haus Im Ennstal, Austria - Jan. 9, 2010
1. Lindsey Vonn, Vail, CO, 1:09.12
2. Nadja Kamer, Switzerland, 1:09.26
3. Ingrid Jacquemod, France, 1:09.28
4. Marion Rolland, France, 1:09.47
5. Anja Paerson, Sweden, 1:09.52
9. Stacey Cook, Mammoth Mountain, CA, 1:09.68
11. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA, 1:09.82
19. Chelsea Marshall, Pittsfield, VT, 1:10.01
33. Leanne Smith, North Conway, NH, 1:10.48
45. Keely Kelleher, Big Sky, MT, 1:10.96
48. Alice McKennis, Glenwood Springs, CO, 1:11.04
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