Riesch reclaims overall World Cup lead as Vail's Vonn endures rough tech weekend
January 17, 2010 —
MARIBOR, Slovenia - Austria's Kathrin Zettel won for the second consecutive day as the U.S. Ski Team was unable to land a finalist in Sunday's Audi FIS Alpine World Cup slalom in Maribor, Slovenia.
"Today was just a tough day all around," said U.S. women's head coach Jim Tracy. "They were out there competing and it just didn't happen."
Zettel trailed compatriot Marlies Schild by more than a second after the first run, but Schild skied out to meet the same fate as Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA), Megan McJames (Park City, UT) and Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO).
"The conditions were pretty tough, but it's an outdoor sport," Tracy said. "We just didn't get it done today."
Two-time defending overall champion Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) lost her World Cup overall lead with an uncharacteristically slow run, while rival and friend Maria Riesch of Germany gained a 28-point advantage by taking third behind Slovenia's Tina Maze.
The U.S. women now move into two consecutive weeks with speed events in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy and St. Moritz, Switzerland with Vonn currently leading the World Cup downhill, super G and super combined standings.
The only remaining technical event before the Olympic selection is a giant slalom Jan. 24 in Cortina.
"We'll see if somebody can step it up in the GS there," he said.
Fans can watch on-demand footage of this weekend's races in Maribor on UniversalSports.com.
2010 AUDI FIS WORLD CUP
Maribor, Slovenia - Jan. 17, 2010
1. Kathrin Zettel, Austria, 1:42.98
2. Tina Maze, Slovenia, 1:43.69
3. Maria Riesch, Germany, 1:44.26
4. Susanne Riesch, Germany, 1:44.34
5. Sandrine Aubert, France, 1:44.70
DNQ: Kaylin Richardson, Edina, MN; Kiley Staples, Park City, UT; Sterling Grant, Amery, WI; Hailey Duke, Boise, ID; Lindsey Vonn, Vail, CO
DNF1: Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA; Megan McJames, Park City, UT; Sarah Schleper, Vail, CO
Vonn leads after first run in GS; skis out in 2nd
MARIBOR, Slovenia (Jan. 16) - Two-time defending overall champion Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) was challenging for a podium result until going out near the finish line of her second run Saturday in an Audi FIS Alpine World Cup giant slalom won by Austrian Kathrin Zettel.
"It happens," said women's alpine head coach Jim Tracy of the bad breaks that have riddled Vonn's recent slalom history. "Unfortunately, she's had her fair share of it, and enough's enough now."
Vonn, who had failed to reach the final run of her previous three giant slaloms, charged to a second-place first run that positioned the 2010 overall leader to bid for her first-ever World Cup podium in the discipline.
"I've been really frustrated with how much I've been crashing in tech events," Vonn told SkiRacing.com. "All I wanted was to have a good run and make it to the finish."
Vonn made a mistake early in her second run, going up on one ski, then recovered and skied aggressively to make up time before hitting a bump and going off course late.
"I just hit a rut," she said. "I couldn't really see anything. I'm just so mad."
A day after she said Vonn's 112-point World Cup overall lead was insurmountable because of the preponderance of speed events remaining, Germany's Maria Riesch took second and closed the gap to 32.
"We know that she's got podium potential in every single event that she enters," Tracy said. "She's had that confidence, she just hasn't been consistent."
Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA), the only other American to make the top 30 final, was 25th for the U.S. Team.
Sunday's slalom - the second of the Golden Fox races - is the last before the Olympic Team is nominated on Jan. 25, and the second-to-last technical event (a giant slalom is slated for Jan. 24 in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy).
"A few of them are kind of feeling the pressure," Tracy said, pointing to slightly tentative skiing Saturday as an indicator of the tension. "They let it go, but they let it go about 75 percent. In slalom, you've gotta let it all hang out on the first run.
"We've got some really good racehorses, it's just a matter of it all coming together and clicking," Tracy said. "Our goal is to get everybody in the second run and go from there."
As for Vonn's chances of her fourth win in six events?
"She likes this hill a lot, so we'll see what happens tomorrow," Tracy said.
Video of Saturday's giant slalom is available at UniversalSports.com, and can be seen on demand following Sunday's slalom.
2010 AUDI FIS WORLD CUP
Maribor, Slovenia - Jan. 16, 2010
Women's Giant Slalom
1. Kathrin Zettel, Austria, 2:36.22
2. Maria Riesch, Germany, 2:36.45
3. Anja Paerson, Sweden, 2:36.70
4. Kathrin Hoelzl, Germany, 2:37.08
5. Andrea Fischbacher, Austria, 2:37.13
25. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA, 2:39.13
DNF2: Lindsey Vonn, Vail, CO
DNQ: Megan McJames, Park City, UT; Jessica Kelley, Starksboro, VT; Sarah Schleper, Vail, CO
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