Vail's Vonn builds overall lead in St. Moritz super-combi, confidence for Vancouver Olympics
January 29, 2010 —
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland – Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) reached her 11th Audi FIS Alpine World Cup podium of the season on Friday, taking third in a super combined won by Sweden's Anja Paerson. Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) was 14th after the American pair went 2-3, respectively, in the first-run super G.
"It was important to make it down not only for the points, but for my mind going into the Olympics, because super combined is the first event," Vonn said. "Now I have that confidence, and I'm definitely going to risk more in the Olympics."
The 60 points give Vonn a 116-point lead in the overall standings heading into Saturday's downhill and Sunday's super G – the final World Cup races before the Olympics.
Vonn also holds a 10-point lead in the super combined standings with just one more race after the Olympics for the discipline title.
"It's a two-run event, and there's just three events for the [combined] globe," Women's Speed Coach Alex Hoedlmoser said, explaining why Vonn might have been slightly cautious on the Corviglia course. "If you pull out in one of those races, there's no chance for it."
"I was more concentrated on just making it down to the bottom and not really risking anything," Vonn said. "It's so easy in slalom to go out and a lot of girls had problems, especially at the top. It wasn't my best run, but it was solid, and that's all I was hoping for."
Mancuso had the second-fastest time in downhill training Wednesday and carried that speed into Friday.
"In speed she's getting more and more confident now and doing some good things," Hoedlmoser said of the 2006 giant slalom gold medalist. "She's definitely pointed in the right direction."
After tweaking her back in downhill training Thursday, Leanne Smith (Conway, NH) was 19th after the super G, but coaches opted to sit her for the slalom.
"Looking at the big picture, with two more speed races and the Olympics, we didn't want to take any chances," Hoedlmoser said.
Fans can watch this weekend's races live or on-demand at UniversalSports.com.
Vonn will go for her first-ever win at St. Moritz in the downhill, where Hoedlmoser said "anything can happen." She is undefeated in downhill this season with a six-race winning streak going back to last year.
"It's not easy to win and there will be a lot of tough competitors out there tomorrow," Vonn said. "I'll try to have a clean run and do my best.
"You can't make a mistake on this course. It's a really easy course, so any mistake is going to cost you a lot of time."
2010 AUDI FIS WORLD CUP
St. Moritz, Switzerland - Jan. 29, 2010
Women's Super Combined
1. Anja Paerson, Sweden, 2:00.54
2. Michaela Kirchgasser, Austria, 2:00.97
3. Lindsey Vonn, Vail, CO, 2:01.46
4. Elisabeth Goergl, Austria, 2:01.51
5. Fabienne Suter, Switzerland, 2:02.13
14. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA, 2:02.75
34. Chelsea Marshall, Pittsfield, VT, 2:04.83
37. Stacey Cook, Mammoth Mountain, CA, 2:05.17
39. Megan McJames, Park City, UT, 2:06.08
DNS 2 – Leanne Smith, Conway, NH
DNF 2 – Kaylin Richardson, Edina, MN
Ligety wins GS in Slovenia
KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia (Jan. 29) – With just two weeks remaining until Opening Ceremonies in Vancouver, 2006 combined gold medalist Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) rocketed to the top of the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup podium Friday with his third consecutive giant slalom victory at Kranjska Gora.
After finishing second on the first run, Ligety edged Austria's Marcel Hirscher by 0.34 seconds in the finale before early leader Aksel Lund Svindal fell to fourth. The race was a reschedule from the fog scratched event originally set for Adelboden, Switzerland in early January.
"First run, I skied really well at the top," Ligety said. "I was pretty psyched I was in second place, one hundredth back. It's a lot better than being in first place one hundredth ahead.
"I knew I had to go hard to beat Hirscher, and Aksel is such a great competitor so I knew I had to go hard. I didn't hold back at all."
It is the third podium of the season for Ligety, who won the World Cup GS title in 2008 and regains the discipline lead, 292-259 over Austria's Benjamin Raich, who is tied for second in the points with Italian Masimilliano Blardone. Ligety also moved up to sixth in the overall standings with another GS on tap at Kranjska on Saturday.
"It's nice to have this race right before the Olympics. It kind of gives me a little extra confidence boost," said Ligety, whose Rossignol ski tech, Ales Kalamar, is from nearby and enjoys strong support in Kranjska.
"It's an awesome GS hill with such incredible terrain, so I really like that part of it. Plus, it's always toward the end of the year, and that's when I feel like I'm skiing the best. It always feels good to race here. I really feel blessed to have a hill like this to compete on."
Ligety wasn't the only American to rip into the finals. Newly-named Olympian Tommy Ford (Bend, OR) was 21st despite small mistakes on both runs.
"It showed that he's fast and strong," said Men's Slalom Head Coach Rudi Soulard, pointing to his third-fastest time on the final pitch of the second run.
Teammate Tim Jitloff (Reno. NV) also took home points, taking 27th after a mistake on his second run cost him a chance at a higher result.
"It's nice to see him get back on track," Soulard said.
Ligety's win marked the 101st World Cup victory for American men. Two-time overall champion Bode Miller (Franconia, NH), who secured No. 100 with his super combined win in Wengen, Switzerland, never planned to race in Kranjska and is stateside resting his ankle.
Fans can watch Saturday's giant slalom and Sunday's slalom live at UniversalSports.com.
2010 AUDI FIS WORLD CUP
Kranjska Gora, Slovenia - Jan. 29, 2010
Men's Giant Slalom
1. Ted Ligety (Park City, UT), 2:22.02
2. Marcel Hirscher, Austria, 2:22.36
3. Kjetil Jansrud, Norway, 2:22.53
4. Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway, 2:22.84
5. Davide Simoncelli, Italy, 2:23.00
21. Tommy Ford, Bend, OR, 2:25.38
27. Tim Jitloff, Reno, NV, 2:26.18
DNQ 1 – Nolan Kasper, Warren, VT; Jake Zamansky, Aspen, CO
DNF 1 – Warner Nickerson, Gilford, NH
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