Lindsey Vonn locks third title, wins Tarvisio super G

06 March 2011 12:38

TARVISIO, Italy – Lindsey Vonn locked her third World Cup title in three days in Tarvisio, Italy, on Sunday and this time she also made it back to the top step of the podium.

With the sun shining and not a cloud in the sky, Vonn tore down the super G course to victory in 1 minute, 21.75 seconds. But she wasn’t the only American making the most of her day. Julia Mancuso was only 0.23 seconds behind her teammate for second place, her fourth podium in the discipline this season, including her world championship silver medal a couple of weeks ago. Fighting to maintain her healthy lead in the overall standings, Maria Riesch, who is also having a tremendous super G season with five podiums including her victory last weekend in Are and her world champs bronze medal, was third on Sunday, 0.50 seconds back.

“I’m so happy with today’s race and to get the win,” Vonn said. “I was second twice here, so I wanted to finish the weekend out strong.”

Vonn earned the super-combined title in Tarvisio on Friday when she finished second to Tina Maze in the super-combined race and locked the downhill title on Saturday, finishing second to Anja Paerson.

“I was happy with my run,” Vonn said. “I still made a mistake – I almost missed a gate right after the middle jump, but I definitely carried more speed today from top to bottom. I was also really happy with the U.S. team. It was almost an American podium.”

In addition to Mancuso’s second-place finish, American Laurenne Ross, who is racing her first full-length season on the World Cup this year and who had previously never finished better than 16th on the circuit (although she was also 10th in the world champs downhill), occupied the leader’s box for nearly the entire race on Sunday. She ended up fourth, 0.70 seconds off of Vonn’s winning time.

“I’m psyched with today,” said the 22-year-old from Oregon. “There were really no tricks on the course – you just had to be really subtle on your edges and try to stay on a flat ski and carry your speed. It was pretty straightforward. You could pretty much pin it the whole way down.”

Mancuso, who normally doesn’t consider herself well-suited to gliding courses, was also very happy with her result.

“It was nice to just charge,” she said. “Even with the gliding parts, it’s all about carrying the speed. I’m psyched to be on the podium. Every time I come to the finish, I feel like I make little mistakes and I’m surprised I can be so close to the win. When I see my time I’m like, ‘Oh! Why did I make that mistake?’ Everyone was getting low but it felt like on top I was a little out of control and then I didn’t carry speed. But still, you have no idea what other people are doing, so I was just trying to fly low and it’s flat, so tuck it out. I had good skis today.”

Mancuso started with bib No. 18 and in spite of the strong sun and warm temperatures, said the snow was soft but not too sticky.

Riesch said she thought the snow slowed her down with bib No. 22 but was also happy to nonetheless finish on the podium.

“Today I was not lucky with my draw and it made a difference, but you can’t influence that. You just have to take it how it is. But I’m still on the podium and I’m pretty happy,” Riesch said. “I just had one mistake in the upper section – I’m lucky I didn’t crash there –so being on the podium, it’s a success for me.”

Riesch was also third in Friday’s super-combined and sixth in Saturday’s downhill. She said she anticipated losing some points to Vonn this weekend in the race toward the overall title but was pleased that, after Sunday’s race, she still leads by 96 points.

“I lost some points but not too many,” she said. “I was calculating to lose some points against her, but I’m still almost 100 points in the lead. With four tech races left and two speed races, my chances are not too bad, but of course it’s a fight until the end.”

And naturally, Vonn is not planning on going down without a fight. Locking three crystal globes in three days only buoys her to keep on fighting.

“Three titles in three days is awesome,” Vonn said. “It’s been a great end of the season so far. I’m really relaxed and really happy. The points between me and Maria toward the overall – it’s definitely getting tighter and I made good points but it’s still her title to lose. She still has the advantage. But if I keep doing the same approach for the next races, it’s still possible. I’m just going to keep fighting and we’ll see what happens.”

Paerson, who had her first victory in more than two years in the Tarvisio downhill on Saturday, didn’t fare as well on the SG course set by Sweden and ended up fifth on Sunday, 0.72 seconds away from the win. Elisabeth Goergl, third on Saturday, was sixth in the super G, 0.76 seconds back. Maze also wrapped up another successful weekend in seventh, 0.78 seconds back. Olympic giant slalom champion Viktoria Rebensburg is becoming a force in SG as well, eighth Sunday and 0.80 seconds out. Spain’s Carolina Ruiz Castillo put down her best World Cup result in more than two years with ninth, 0.95 seconds back and Switzerland’s Fabienne Suter had a fair result in 10th, 0.96 seconds out. Doing her part to contribute to a successful weekend for the Americans, Leanne Smith was 11th, 0.98 seconds back.

Go here for video with Vonn, Mancuso and Riesch.

Click here for full results.

By Shauna Farnell