Vonn back on top in Cortina d’Ampezzo
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy - Lindsey Vonn put her name back on top of the timesheets, winning today’s downhill in a time of 1:38.25 ahead of her nearest rival of the day Tina Maze. The World Cup leader finished 0.43 seconds behind. Rounding out the podium, American Leanne Smith confirms the US ski team is on track for its best ever ladies’ downhill season.
Early in the race, starting bib number 2, Leanne Smith set the pace of the race by putting a very solid run together. The followers all struggled to get close until Tina Maze came and charged down the slope. On another planet since the beginning of the season, the Slovenian kept everyone behind. But Lindsey Vonn managed to ski strong again to edge out the World Cup leader.
28-year-old American got her 3rd Cortina downhill and 8th podium in the famed ski resort in the heart of the dolomites. “It’s good to be back on top”, she simply confessed.
“I’ve been trying to build my confidence and strength back up to where it was. St Anton was a good start, 6th and 4th place. I wanted today to be a podium day. I just skied the best that I could. I executed my plan and it worked out well.”
“I heard that Leanne had a super run. I was so excited for her. It’s fun to be on the podium with your team mate. We have a great energy about the team right now. We are in a great position going into the World Championships. Everyone knows that they can win, they have the power to do it. We try to push each other. That’s what makes the team so strong right now.”
With Leanne Smith being 3rd, the American team has made 8 podiums in the 5 downhill races so far. The young skier from New Hampshire got her 2nd podium of the season after finishing 2nd in Val d’Isère. “I felt confident after the training run and I knew what to improved and changed for the race”, she said.
“I was extremely nervous before the race as I was in Val d’Isère. It seems to be working that way.”
Surrounded by the two Americans, World Cup leader Tina Maze was very impressive again. “Cortina in one of my favourite race in the Tour and I’m really happy with this 2nd place”, she admitted.
“I’ve been training so hard and I can now feel comfortable on downhill tracks, I can attack. Downhill skiing is so fun. But this wouldn’t be possible without my team, that is 80% Italian by the way.”
Among today’s contenders Maria Hoefl-Riesch skied out again, like she did in Flachau 5 days earlier. The gap between the German skier and Tina Maze has increased again; 1414 points to 744 points. As for Lindsey Vonn, she amplified her lead over team mate Stacey Cook in the downhill standings, a good step towards the globe.
The Ladies will get to race a Super-G tomorrow for a second round!
Results of the race here!