Riesch wins; Vonn, Mancuso take second, third in WCup super-G
ARE, Sweden – Maria Riesch of Germany beat Lindsey Vonn by one hundredth of a second to win a World Cup super-G race on Sunday and extend her overall lead over her American rival.
Vonn watched at the bottom of the Olympia course in the Swedish resort of Are as Riesch flew over the final jump, then gave a wry smile as Riesch clinched victory. Riesch pumped her fist in delight and let out a loud yell.
“I’m also really happy that I can be back on the top of the podium in super-G as well. My last win in super-G (was) three years ago,” Riesch said. “I was having a hard time in-between in super-G. Finally I’m back and ready to win the speed events. That’s good.”
Vonn won Saturday’s downhill for her 40th World Cup race win.
“I thought I skied a good race. I was happy with my run and unfortunately I lost by one hundredth of a second, which is a snap of your finger,” Vonn said. “That’s life.”
Riesch won in 1 minute, 13.24 seconds for her sixth race win of the season. It was her first of the season in super-G and the 26-year-old has now won races in four different disciplines this season.
“It’s definitely frustrating, especially at this time of the year, with the overall World Cup so tight,” Vonn said. “One hundredth (costs you) twenty points. It would have been great if we could have just tied.”
“I mean, one hundredth is nothing,” she added. “You can find it from any place, whether it’s pushing out from the start or reaching out for the finish line a bit more.”
Julia Mancuso of the United States was .79 back in third place ahead of Austria’s Nicole Hosp, who was .81 behind Riesch.
“It was tough light, but it was like that for everyone so it wasn’t a surprise,” Mancuso said. “My race was OK. I definitely made a couple of mistakes but this time it was on the right side of the hundredths, so I was lucky for that.”
Riesch won Friday’s super-combined and finished third in Saturday’s downhill.
Vonn was racing this weekend for the first time since withdrawing from the latter part of the world championships because of a concussion in pre-competition training.
Riesch, who was third in super-G at worlds, now leads Vonn in the overall standings by 196 points as she closes in on her first overall title.
“I didn’t expect (to) make up points in Are. I was hoping that I wasn’t losing too much,” Riesch said. “Now I am more ahead than before Are, so this is really good for me. I will try and keep this performance until the end of the season and hopefully it’s enough for the big globe, finally.”
Riesch will look to extend her lead in Italy next weekend where once again there will be a super-combi – this time with a downhill leg, rather than a super-G – a downhill race and a super-G over three days in Tarvisio.
“It’s a good advantage now but there (are) still nine races to go, and lots of things can happen,” Riesch said.
But the 26-year-old Vonn is realistic enough to know the overall title is now Riesch’s to lose.
“I’m not counting myself out, but it’s looking pretty good for Maria for the overall,” said Vonn, who lost ground by finishing sixth in Friday’s super-combi. “She knows that and I know that.”
Vonn leads the downhill and super-G standings, with Riesch second in both. Riesch leads in super-combi ahead of Vonn.
“We’re friends first, and we know we have a job to do out on the hill and whoever wins, wins,” Vonn said. “We congratulate each other and we’re happy for each other. That’s a good and healthy relationship.”
Vonn expects another tightly contested few days in Tarvisio and says she will be fully prepared.
“I have to look at video and see what I can do for the next race, because Tarvisio is a flat hill and it’s going to be another one of those tight margin races,” she said.
Vonn said she was proud of the American women’s performances in speed events this season.
“Stacey Cook was fifth yesterday and Julia’s third (today) and Leanne Smith is 12th (today). I think we’ve had a really solid year from the speed standpoint,” Vonn said. “Most of the girls are in there every single day. A lot of races we had all the girls in the top 30. I think it shows a lot of depth in our team.”
Meanwhile, Anja Paerson’s miserable run continued.
After just missing out on a podium spot to Austria’s Elisabeth Goergl when she finished fourth in Friday’s super-combi, and failing to finish Saturday’s downhill, Paerson pulled up early in her super-G run.
The Swede was ahead of Vonn’s time-split when she went to the side of the slope and lay down, stretched out her leg and rubbed her right knee.
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