American Vonn wins women’s super-G
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany ” Lindsey Vonn got a big confidence boost by sweeping the final two races before the World Championship.
Vonn completed a highly successful weekend on Sunday, mastering a demanding course for her first Super-G win in two years after winning the slalom on Friday.
Her focus now turns to the worlds that start Tuesday in Val D’Isere, France, with another Super-G.
“It really boosts my self-confidence. I feel like in pretty much all events I am well prepared and my confidence is high,” Vonn said. “I’m going to try, and just be as physically prepared and mentally prepared for each race as I possibly can. It’s going to be a really tough couple of weeks.”
The defending World Cup champion increased her lead this season’s points race by winning the last two races.
“These two wins here meant a lot to me,” she said. “But I don’t consider myself a great favorite for the super-G in Val d’Isere. The downhill and the super-combi are my goals.
Vonn has never won a gold medal at the championships.
In her first worlds in Bormio-Santa Caterina four years ago she finished fourth in both downhill and combined.
At the last worlds in Are, Sweden, in 2007, Vonn earned her first major championship medals ” silvers in Super-G and downhill ” before injuring her right knee and missing her final two events, and ultimately the rest of the season.
Vonn now looks ready for the gold.
With her fifth win of the season on Sunday, she also tied Tamara McKinney’s U.S. women’s record of 18 career victories.
“I feel very honored to be on the same level with Tamara,” Vonn said.
The American tamed the demanding 1.35-mile Kandahar course in 1 minute, 22.16 seconds, beating Anja Paerson of Sweden by 0.39 seconds. Another Swede, Jessica Lindell-Vikarby, who won the previous super-G in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, was 0.72 back in third place.
“It was a really difficult course, but Alex (Hodlmoser), my coach, set it and it was a great set. It was really challenging, icy and bumpy,” Vonn said. “I just charged. I knew what line I needed to take in order to generate speed from top to bottom and I just executed my plan really well and had some fast skis on my feet and everything just seemed to work really well for me.”
The course was redesigned for the 2011 worlds and the women now race on what used to be the men’s downhill track on many sections.
Vonn also got some advice from Thomas, her husband, who used to race on the old course.
“He told me exactly where I should go fast and where the tricky sections were. I think it really helped me and gave me confidence. I knew exactly what was going to happen and I was prepared for it,” she said.
With the Super-G victory Sunday, Vonn has won in all disciplines this season except the giant slalom.
By collecting a maximum 100 points from each of her last two races, Vonn has 1,114 points in her bid to defend her overall World Cup title. Maria Riesch of Germany, who finished fifth in her hometown race, remains second, 179 points behind.
“Lindsey will win the overall title and she’s deserved it,” Riesch said. “She is the best.”
Vonn thought it was premature to talk about the overall title.
“There are a lot of races left and Maria will remain my toughest challenger,” she said.
Riesch and Vonn are best friends on the circuit and the American has spent Christmas holidays with Riesch’s family in Garmisch, where Vonn is somewhat of a local star.
“It’s my best super-G finish of the season and it was a good weekend for me, although it was better for Lindsey,” said Riesch, who finished runner-up to Vonn in the slalom. “I had an OK run. I had some bad visibility. But you can ski faster on this course, as Lindsey showed.”
Nadia Fanchini of Italy finished fourth to remain ahead in the super-G standings.
The race was originally slated for Saturday, but had to be postponed because of fog. A men’s downhill, also scheduled for Saturday, was called off.
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