Vonn extends lead in bumpy Bulgaria
BANSKO, Bulgaria ” Racing with an injured thumb and nervous on a bumpy course, Lindsey Vonn shared third place in a downhill Friday to extend her lead in the overall World Cup standings.
Vonn reached the podium for the sixth straight time, skiing on a course that marked Bulgaria’s debut on the women’s World Cup circuit.
Vonn, who tumbled during training Thursday, finished behind winner Fabienne Suter of Switzerland and runner-up Andrea Fischbacher of Austria. Nadia Fanchini of Italy was tied for third with Vonn.
“I was a little bit nervous today because of my crash yesterday. … It was a tough fall. My back and behind are a little bit sore,” Vonn said. “I just tried to fight. It wasn’t my best run for sure. I’m happy with third place. And those are important points for the overall.”
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Vonn finished in 1 minute, 46.92 seconds, trailing Suter by 1.24 seconds and Fischbacher by 0.09.
This was the first time women raced on the Banderiza course in the southern part of the country. Bulgaria last hosted a men’s event 25 years ago. There is another downhill Saturday and a super-G Sunday.
Vonn called this the most testing course on the World Cup circuit, with frequent bumps adding to balance worries caused by her hand injury. Vonn severed a thumb tendon on a broken champagne bottle during the world championships and needed surgery.
“It’s nice to have a new spot on the World Cup and add something exciting for us,” Vonn said. “It’s the first time we’ve raced here so obviously there’s going to be bumps in the road. They could probably make some changes to make it better. In general, it’s a good course. It’s challenging, probably the most challenging in the World Cup.”
Germany’s Maria Riesch finished 18th and remained second in the overall standings. Sweden’s Anja Paerson, third in the standings, didn’t finish.
“I was totally not satisfied,” Riesch said.
Vonn is in sight of clinching the downhill title, with a 118-point lead. She opened the gap with Riesch to 346 points in the overall tally.
“It’s looking pretty good for the downhill title and I’m feeling confident about where I am with the overall,” Vonn said. “But I’m not about to let up. Anything can happen in ski racing. That’s what makes it so exciting.”
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