Vonn dominates, renews bid to race men
LAKE LOUISE, Canada (AFP) –
Lindsey Vonn, who swept all three races last year at Lake Louise, easily won the downhill, her 12th World Cup title at the venue, giving credibility to her desire to race the men.
The four-time overall World Cup champion will race her second downhill of the season Saturday and a super-G Sunday.
“When you say you want to race the men, you can’t really not win the women’s races,” said Vonn, whose desire to race in the men’s event last week was turned down by the sport’s governing body FIS.
“I knew that and I definitely was trying to prove a point, I think mostly to myself, but to everyone else who doesn’t think I should race with the men. Hopefully it works out. Maybe it won’t, but I think my skiing will speak for itself.”
In a race disrupted by fog, Vonn on Friday clocked 1min 52.61sec to win her 27th World Cup downhill title overall. Almost half of those have come in the Canadian Rockies.
American Stacey Cook was a distant second, 1.73sec back with Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch and Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather sharing third, 1.74sec behind Vonn.
The race was halted for an hour and a half because of poor visibility after the run of starter number 25, Austrian Anna Fenninger. Vonn was already in the lead by then.
The 28-year-old American, who landed in the hospital earlier this month with a painful intestinal illness, looked like her old self a week after she was clearly exhausted after competing in a giant slalom in Colorado.
Vonn finished 21st in the giant slalom last week, then skipped the slalom.
“It seemed like everything was going wrong,” Vonn said.
“It’s hard sometimes to believe that you’re going to turn things around. I just keep fighting and every day, I keep trying my best. I was just so happy I was able to come out today and ski the way I wanted to. It was just a big sigh of relief.”
“The only thing I’m concerned about at this point is my energy level and trying to make sure I have enough energy for the next couple of days,” she said.
“It was a long time standing out in the cold today and hopefully I can just get some good recovery in today and maintain what I have and be able to ski the way I want to.”
In a rare move, Vonn skipped Thursday’s final downhill training run because of stomach problems.
“It’s just that my stomach is really sensitive, so I had some funny eggs or, I don’t really know what it was,” she said. “It seems like it doesn’t really matter what I eat, something can sometimes trigger it. I definitely wasn’t feeling well yesterday.”
Cook cried after completing the one-two American sweep and when she realized she would be on a World Cup podium for the first time in her career.
“Someone told me this was my 150th World Cup start. One hundred and fifty tries to get on the podium,” Cook said.
“Nine years of it. It’s a long time coming and my parents — they come to one race every three years. For them to choose this one was really special.”
Slovenia’s Tina Maze, who seized the World Cup overall lead with two giant slalom victories already this season, settled for 20th place.