Lindsey Vonn fastest in first Cortina DH training

12 January 2012 12:30

CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy – It was a classic, perfect day in the Dolomites Thursday for the first women’s World Cup downhill training run. Under the bright sun and cloudless blue sky, Lindsey Vonn put down the fastest training time, finishing in 1 minute, 33.42 seconds.

Vonn is now recovered from the stomach problems that she was suffering last weekend in Bad Kleinkirchheim, where she had trouble keeping food down and was very weak for several days, still managing to take fourth in the downhill after nearly crashing but finishing an uncharacteristically low 16th in the super G.

But Cortina is a special venue for the American, the home of her first World Cup podium back in January 2004 and where she has podiumed every year since, save 2007, when she was fourth in the super G. In 2010, Vonn swept both the downhill and super G races in Cortina and last year, won both super Gs and finished third in the downhill after nearly crashing.

“It’s beautiful as always,” Vonn said after her run on Thursday. “It’s awesome. The snow is good. The weather is good. Everything is pretty much perfect.”

Italy’s Lucia Recchia, who has been competing in World Cups in Cortina since 1999, finished second to Vonn Thursday, 0.38 seconds back. American Stacey Cook was right up there, too, finishing third, 0.43 back, and a handful of others finished within a second of Vonn’s time, including Elisabeth Goergl, who was fourth, 0.47 back, Norway’s Lotte Smiseth Sejersted fifth, 0.60 seconds back, Daniela Merighetti sixth, 0.68 seconds back and Anja Paerson seventh, 0.92 seconds back.

Maria Hoefl-Riesch, who had a bad flu last weekend and skipped the races in Bad Kleinkirchheim, was still coughing on Thursday but said she was feeling much better. She was ninth in training, finishing 1.10 seconds behind Vonn’s lead time. Hoefl-Riesch won the downhill in Cortina last year.

American Chelsea Marshall was the only racer to not make it to the finish line on Thursday. She crashed and following the training run went to the hospital where she was diagnosed with a broken scapula and was going to fly home for further evaluation of an injured knee.

A second training is scheduled for Friday in Cortina and racing begins Saturday with downhill at 10:30 a.m. followed by super G Sunday at 11:30 a.m.

By Shauna Farnell

Go here for full training results.