By Doug Haney/U.S. Ski Team
Vail's Vonn recaptures overall World Cup lead with 7th win of the season, 29th of her career
January 22, 2010 —
CORTINA D'AMPEZZO, Italy - Two-time defending World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) retook the overall lead Friday, notching her second consecutive super G win and first victory in the discipline at Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy.
"I'm really happy," Vonn said. "It couldn't be going any better for me right now in the speed disciplines. It's nice to have the confidence back and have a more positive race after the last week of technical races."
Vonn, who hasn't missed a super G podium in four tries this season, surpassed Germany's Maria Riesch atop the 2010 Audi FIS Alpine World Cup leaderboard after the dominant .67-second margin romp.
"I skied really aggressively," Vonn said. "I still made a mistake at the bottom. I was a little bit nervous if I was going to still be able to be fast with this mistake."
Rest assured, she was plenty fast in her seventh World Cup win of the season. In addition to her 56-point overall lead over Riesch, Vonn holds an iron-clad 170-point lead in the super G.
"It was a fast course, and you had to challenge the line a lot, and she did. And it was awesome, said Women's Speed Head Coach Alex Hoedlmoser.
Fabienne Suter of Switzerland finished second, followed by Sweden's Anja Paerson.
After tearing her ACL in a Cortina downhill last season, Leanne Smith (Conway, NH) crossed 20th for her third-best finish ever in the super G and added some more intrigue to next week's Olympic team selection.
"I'm excited about it," said Smith, who has flirted with the points all season and has just three top 30s, but seven top 40s. "It's good confidence and I'm skiing well, so we'll see where it goes from there."
Her 20th matched teammate Keely Kelleher (Big Sky, MT) for the third best U.S. super G result of the year behind leaders Vonn and Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA). It was the final super G before the Olympic Team is named next week.
Stacey Cook (Mammoth, CA) landed in the points in 30th, while Alice McKennis (Glenwood Springs, CO, 32nd), Mancuso , 33rd, Kelleher , and Chelsea Marshall (Pittsfield, VT) gave the U.S. Ski Team seven finishers in the top 40.
Vonn will go for career win No. 30 in Saturday's downhill, for which she was fastest in training Thursday after Mancuso held that distinction Wednesday.
"Cortina has a special place for me in my heart, because I had my first podium here, and I always had confidence here," Vonn said. "It's a fun course, it's always perfect snow, perfect weather, and this year is exactly the same as in the past years."
And Vonn has a foolproof strategy worked out.
"I just have to do the same thing tomorrow as I did today," she said.
Fans can view live and on-demand footage of this weekend's races in Cortina at UniversalSports.com.
2010 AUDI FIS WORLD CUP
Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy - Jan. 22, 2010
Women's Super G
1. Lindsey Vonn, Vail, CO, 1:21.74
2. Fabienne Suter, Switzerland, 1:22.41
3. Anja Paerson, Sweden, 1:22.48
4. Tina Maze, Slovenia, 1:22.79
5. Andrea Fischbacher, Austria, 1:22.84
20. Leanne Smith, Conway, NH, 1:23.66
30. Stacey Cook, Mammoth, CA, 1:24.15
32. Alice McKennis, Glenwood Springs, CO, 1:24.23
33. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA, 1:24.39
39. Keely Kelleher, Big Sky, MT, 1:24.95
40. Chelsea Marshall, Pittsfield, VT, 1:25.09
Miller 17th in Kitzbuehel super-G
KITZBUEHEL, Austria (Jan. 22) - Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, NY) and Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA) stepped up their game in the Olympics hunt, tying for 11th Friday in Kitzbuehel, .70 seconds behind winner Didier Cuche of Switzerland.
The pair missed the podium by little more than half a second in a tight field, and Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) made a slight mistake but finished 17th, just .11 seconds back.
"It was a good day today for the team," said Men's Head Coach Sasha Rearick. "Maybe not the best results, but the guys stepped it up with their skiing."
Weibrecht's finish ties a career best in super G set in Kitzbuehel last year, and it also equals his best result this season.
"It was solid, nothing fancy," Weibrecht said. "A decent run. I just stuck to my game plan and skied well."
It also marked the best result of the season for the veteran Sullivan, who was 10th in the super G and 6th in the downhill at Kitzbuehel in 2008.
"I had a good start number (2nd), and the track was in great shape," Sullivan said. "I've been frustrated by a lot of crap going on, but I just stopped thinking about it and had a solid run."
Despite the speedy time, Sullivan bobbled coming across a traverse at the bottom, leading him to struggle for a few gates.
"Looking at the splits, I think I lost about three-tenths there," he said. "Overall, it's OK. I'm just happy to be in the finish and have a decent run."
Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) was 24th, while Steven Nyman (Sundance, UT) landed just outside the points in 33rd.
"I was pleased to see him charging, balanced on his outside ski," Rearick said of Nyman.
Miller won Thursday's training run in the downhill and is coming off a victory last weekend in the super combined at Wengen, so expectations are high for Saturday's speed test.
The pressure is weighing on everybody, however, as skiers try to make an impression before the selection of the U.S. Olympic Team early next week. Friday was the final super G before the Olympic Team announcement.
"Again tomorrow in the downhill, the bottom section is critical coming across the traverse and down onto the Zielschuss and up top coming off the Steilhang which leads onto the long road," Sullivan said. "I've kind of blown that in training, so that's where I need to improve. I just need to make good, solid turns up top and have good aerodynamics in the middle."
Weibrecht has a similar but slightly simpler plan.
"I just have to go back and recover, get on my game plan and hammer it," he said.
Fans can watch this weekend's races in Kitzbuehel live or on-demand at UniversalSports.com.
2010 AUDI FIS WORLD CUP
Kitzbuehel, Austria - Jan. 22, 2010
Men's Super G
1. Didier Cuche, Switzerland, 1:17.94
2. Michael Walchhofer, Austria, 1:18.22
3. Georg Streitberger, Austria, 1:18.23
4. Andrej Jerman, Slovenia, 1:18.30
5. Erik Guay, Canada, 1:18.33
T-11. Andrew Weibrecht, Lake Placid, NY; and Marco Sullivan, Squaw Valley, CA, 1:18.64
17. Bode Miller, Franconia, NH, 1:18.75
24. Ted Ligety, Park City, UT, 1:19.12
33. Steven Nyman, Sundance, UT, 1:19.79
DNF – Erik Fisher, Middleton, ID; and Scott Macartney, Crystal Mountain, WA
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