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Vail's Vonn leads 7 Americans into the points in St. Moritz downhill


Vail's Vonn leads 7 Americans into the points in St. Moritz downhill


January 30, 2010 —  ST. MORITZ, Switzerland – Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) held on for a solid fifth place after a costly mistake in Saturday's Audi FIS Alpine World Cup downhill, leading an impressive U.S. Team effort that saw seven Americans finish in the points.

Germany's Maria Riesch won the race, narrowing Vonn's overall lead to 61 points after the two-time defending champion was bounced on a hole that had developed above a hard left boot sidehill turn and got sucked low.

"We were aware of it and we'd discussed it over the radio, but a number of racers still had trouble in that spot," said U.S. Women's Head Coach Jim Tracy.

"I'm pretty disappointed with my result," Vonn said. "It was just really unfortunate. I knew the hole was there. I'd gotten it from the coaches and from Thomas (Vonn, her husband). But when I was on course, the light was so flat, I couldn't see anything.

"My ski just hit it at the exact wrong place, the exact wrong time," she said. "I'm lucky, honestly, to have made the course. I was pretty close to going out there."

Tracy said he was pleased she held on to boost her discipline lead to 126 points, but chagrined she couldn't nab her first downhill win at St. Moritz.

"She dropped off line and lost almost all speed," he said. "She got her wits back together and finished, but if that hadn't happened, she probably would have won."

On a banner day for American women, Alice McKennis (Glenwood Springs, CO) earned the best result of her young career, taking ninth.

"She took advantage of her start number (3)," Tracy said. "We thought it was going to be tough early because the forecast called for wind and snow, but there was none really. It was impressive to see a couple of the girls step up."

Close behind was Chelsea Marshall (Pittsfield, VT) in 10th, her second ever top 10 (8th in Sestriere, Italy, in 2008).

Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA) landed in the points for her eighth consecutive World Cup downhill, taking 12th.

"All of them did a great job," Tracy said. "They're capable of finishing in the points every race, so to see them put it together is great."

As if four in the top 12 weren't enough, Leanne Smith (Conway, NH) was 18th, Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) was 22nd, and Laurenne Ross (Klamath Falls, OR) got her first World Cup points in 28th.

Sunday's super G is the final World Cup race before the Olympics. Fans can watch live at

"It always seems to be something funny here going on at St. Moritz," Vonn said. "I haven't been able to do so well in the past. Hopefully tomorrow, I'll break that series."

Fans can go behind the scenes with the Team tonight when the groundbreaking Audi documentary "Truth in Motion: The U.S. Ski Team's Road to Vancouver" airs at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

St. Moritz, Switzerland - Jan. 30, 2010
Women's Downhill

1. Maria Riesch, Germany, 1:41.31
2. Ingrid Jacquemod, France, 1:42.10
3. Fabienne Suter, Switzerland, 1:42.27
4. Anja Paerson, Sweden, 1:42.28
5. Lindsey Vonn, Vail, CO, 1:42.52
9. Alice McKennis, Glenwood Springs, CO, 1:42.90
10. Chelsea Marshall, Pittsfield, VT, 1:43.05
12. Stacey Cook, Mammoth Mountain, CA, 1:43.17
18. Leanne Smith, Conway, NH, 1:43.50
22. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA, 1:43.78
28. Laurenne Ross, Klamath Falls, OR, 1:44.23
36. Kaylin Richardson, Edina, MN, 1:44.87
44. Keely Kelleher, Big Sky, MT, 1:46.56

Ligety third in Kranjska GS

KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia – A day after cruising to his third consecutive giant slalom victory at Kranjska Gora, Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) battled from behind for third in yet another GS on Saturday, his fourth Audi FIS Alpine World Cup podium of the season.

"That was pretty impressive," said Men's Slalom Coach Rudi Soulard. "To finish top three two days in a row is great."

"He made a small mistake on that last pitch, skiing a little bit conservative," Soulard said of Ligety's second run. "Still, it's more points for him. You want to win, but at the same time you feel like 'I can't make any mistakes,' or you'll fall out of the points. Tactically, it was clever."

With only one GS remaining, the World Cup Finals at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, Ligety owns a 352-309 lead over Italy's Massimiliano Blardone in the discipline standings. Ligety won the GS title two years ago.

"It's very nice to still have the red bib and build my lead on Blardone, but then obviously losing a little bit to Marcel (Hirscher, the winner), it's not all that safe."

Ligety - sixth in the overall standings, just four points out of the top five - said Austria's Hirscher won it on the same stretch where he struggled.

"I think a lot of guys lost a lot of time there and were getting tired," he said. "Marcel took a lot of risk. I made a couple of small bobbles. That bottom is tough, and you need to be willing to take risks there to be super fast. Marcel did that. He put six or seven tenths on the top guys at the bottom. I'm anxious to see the video of his run."

Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV) was the only other American in the final, skiing well until a late mistake cost him.

"It was nice to see him get back on track," Soulard said.

Jake Zamansky (Aspen, CO) was slated to start, but felt back pain during Friday's GS and opted to rest in favor of being 100 percent for the Olympic preparation training camp next week in Park City, Soulard said.

Sunday's slalom is the final race before the Olympics. Fans can watch live at

Soulard said he hopes to see a good performance from Jimmy Cochran (Keene, NH).

"He's skiing great slalom, he's really fast," Soulard said. "If he puts two runs together, he should do well."

Fans can go behind the scenes with the Team tonight when the groundbreaking Audi documentary "Truth in Motion: The U.S. Ski Team's Road to Vancouver" airs at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

Kranjska Gora, Slovenia - Jan. 30, 2010
Men's Giant Slalom

1. Marcel Hirscher, Austria, 2:31.30
2. Kjetil Jansrud, Norway, 2:31.75
3. Ted Ligety, Park City, UT, 2:31.88
4. Massimiliano Blardone, Italy, 2:32.16
5. Davide Simoncelli, Italy, 2:32.39
29. Tim Jitloff, Reno, NV, 2:37.00
DNS 1 – Jake Zamansky, Aspen, CO
DNQ 1 – Dane Spencer, Boise, ID; Warner Nickerson, Gilford, NH
DNF 1 – Tommy Ford, Bend, OR



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