Ruiz Castillo leads Lake Louise 1st downhill training
Lake Louise, Canada - 67 athletes showed up at the start to defy the cold in Lake Louise. -30 degrees Celsius was measured at dawn at the bottom of the downhill course. Spain's Carolina Ruiz Castillo must not really enjoy this type of polar conditions, reason why she decided to spend the least amount of time on the course today. She was the fastest to cross the finish line in a time of 1:57.40, with Germany's Maria Höfl-Riesch ending up in second place, 0.11 seconds behind. Slovenia's Tina Maze settled for third, 0.66 seconds back.
All eyes were on Lindsey's Vonn return to the World Cup today. She skied carefully and finished 19th, 2.13 seconds off the pace. Lake Louise is Lindsey Vonn's most successful resort. She has won 14 World Cup races at Lake Louise, a record for any skier at one venue. Among these 14 victories, 11 were in downhill.
“I was a little nervous but happy to be out there”, said the 29 year-old. It's been a long time since I last ran a World Cup race. It's really nice to be back here in Lake Louise, even though my run wasn't perfect. But it's just training after all.”
“My knee feels good. It looks stable for now. But I still haven't decided if I am going to race this weekend”, she concluded.
World Cup leader Lara Gut, who won the first two speed races of the season last weekend in Beaver Creek, triumphing in a downhill and a Super G, finished in 5th position today.
“The top section of the course is quite bumpy and it is slower than in the previous year”, she said. “Getting speed on such a cold and aggressive snow isn't very easy. But it is interesting to ski on a totally different type of course in comparison to what we had last week in Beaver Creek.”
Maria Höfl-Riesch has always been comfortable in Lake Louise. She came 3rd in one of the downhill races last season and won both downhill races in 2010.
“As long as the sun is out and my material works, I don't really mind skiing in such cold conditions”, the German champion said.
“Lake Louise is normally where the speed season starts. It is actually nice for us, because it isn't too difficult. This year we started in Beaver Creek with one of the most challenging and demanding course. In addition to that, I didn't have much training on the long downhill skis before Beaver Creek. I am naturally happy to be in the top 3 here today, but it was just the first training day. Let's see what happens in the next few days.”
One more downhill training day is scheduled tomorrow for 12:30 local time.
Here are the full results of today.