Lindsey Vonn wins World Cup super-combi race


Associated Press

Posted on December 19, 2010 at 8:32 AM

Updated Sunday, Dec 19 at 9:31 AM

VAL D'ISERE, France (AP) — Lindsey Vonn moved back to the top of the World Cup standings on Sunday with another dominant performance in Val d'Isere, winning a super-combined race the day after a masterful downhill.

Vonn had the fastest time in the super-G in the morning and followed it up with an assured slalom run in the afternoon.

The win moved Vonn three points ahead of rival Maria Riesch of Germany in the overall standings, 581-578. Austria's Elisabeth Goergl is far behind in third with 366.

"This weekend helps with the points (but) it's a long season, there's a lot of races left to go," Vonn said. "I'm not really looking at the points right now."

Vonn is aiming for a fourth consecutive overall title and secured her third race win this season, all in different disciplines. She won a downhill on Saturday after a super-G victory over Riesch at Lake Louise, Alberta, this month.

"I was really happy with this weekend, it couldn't have gone any better," Vonn said. "I just haven't trained very much slalom since the races in Aspen, so I felt confident but I wasn't exactly sure how it would go. I was definitely very nervous at the start."

Vonn's second straight victory came a day after she was honored as the 2010 Female Athlete of the Year as chosen by members of The Associated Press.

Vonn beat two Swiss skiers in Saturday's downhill, and this time the 26-year-old held off two Austrians, as Goergl and Nicole Hosp finished in second and third place respectively.

"I was a little bit more cautious on the top part of the course, but as soon as I got on the flats then I really tried to push the limits and go faster," Vonn said. "I was happy with my slalom, I think it was a solid run."

Vonn is cautious about looking too far ahead, but is determined to improve on her 11 World Cup race wins last season.

"Try and do a little better than that," she said.

Swiss great Vreni Schneider established the all-time record of 14 victories in 1988-89.

Another Austrian, Anna Fenninger, finished fourth on Sunday, and Riesch was fifth — finally showing some form after a dismal 24th place in Saturday's downhill.

Vonn was seventh fastest in slalom in 49.14 seconds to give her an overall time of 2 minutes, 7.80 seconds, putting her 0.46 clear of Goergl and 0.69 ahead of Hosp.

"I had a great slalom, I was happy with the super-G, too, because I hadn't (done a) super-G for a long time," Goergl said. "So it was a good test."

It was Goergl's first World Cup podium since her third place in downhill at Lake Louise in March.

"I like Val d'Isere, I like the hill. It's pretty flat, I like flat (because) it makes it easier for me in slalom," she said. "The course was not really difficult so it was really easy to attack."

Hosp returned to the podium for the first time since a third-place finish in slalom at Ofterschwang, Germany, in March, 2009.

"I'm really happy about the podium, because it's a long time ago for me," Hosp said.

Austria's Michaela Kirchgasser had the fastest slalom time of 48.20 and finished sixth. Goergl, who took third place in last season's super-combi at Val d'Isere, had the sixth quickest time in super-G.

It was a good day for American skiers, with Ted Ligety winning his third straight giant slalom race at Alta Badia in Italy to take the lead in the men's overall standings.

Vonn has a remarkable record at Val d'Isere, whatever the slope or discipline.

She won World Cup downhill races here in 2005 and '06, along with a downhill and super-G world championship double and a World Cup super-combi last year when it featured a downhill section.

This was her fourth World Cup super-combi career win, with the other two coming at Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria — also last year — and another one in Austria at St. Anton am Arlberg in 2007.

In her super-G run earlier, Vonn trailed Daniela Merighetti by .27 seconds at the first time split and .45 on the second, but powered through the bottom section to finish in 1 minute, 18.66 seconds, putting her .20 ahead of the Italian.

Hosp, who has won World Cup slalom races before, was third fastest in super-G and started .30 behind Vonn in slalom.

Italy's Johanna Schnarf was fourth fastest, and Margret Altacher of Austria was fifth quickest in super-G.

Riesch could only manage 16th place but posted the fourth fastest slalom in 48.77 to push her way into contention.

In overcast morning conditions, many skiers struggled to get a grip on a fluffy and bumpy top section in the super-G.

Vonn, who had a near miss on a turn Saturday, almost lost control again on one of Sunday's tricky first gates.

Anja Paerson of Sweden, the former super-G world champion, lost an outside ski and did not finish. Swiss teenager Lara Gut, third in Saturday's downhill behind Nadja Kamer and Vonn, finished 18th.