Vonn eyes Moser-Pröll's record after downhill win
Val d'Isère, France - USA's Lindsey Vonn did not miss her comeback to Val d’Isère one year after her forced injury break, winning her fourth World Cup downhill on the OK piste and the 61st victory of her career.
It was the third podium in succession for the American four-time World Cup winner, whose return in Lake Louise stunned the circuit when she won the downhill on only her second race back before finishing second in the super-G.
But while Lake Louise has always been seen as Vonn’s backyard, the former Olympic champion had mixed fortunes in the French resort.
This time, her run was almost flawless if not as aggressive as in the past and amply good enough for her to dominate the rest of the field.
“It feels amazing. I was a bit nervous today as I made some mistakes in training. It’s tough when you only have one training run and I could have used much more training. I skied aggressively today. It was definitely tough as we had a lot more speed. Even though I made that mistake at the bottom I hold on and kept fighting and it paid off,” she said.
In a time of 1:44.47, Vonn beat two versatile speed specialists by 0.19 seconds – 2011 downhill world champion Elisabeth Görgl of Austria and 2010 giant slalom Olympic champion Viktoria Rebensburg.
Her 61st victory now puts the American within immediate reach of the record of 62 World Cup victories held by Austria’s Annemarie Moser-Pröll and she could even think of equalling it in Sundays’ super-G on the same piste.
“61 is a difficult number and I’m looking forward to another chance tomorrow,” she said.
For Görgl, it was a promising return to form after two up-and-down seasons while Rebensburg, despite a huge downhill potential, had never before made it on the podium in the discipline.
Vonn won three downhills in Val d’Isère in 2005, 2006 and 2010 as well as two combineds but had not clinched victory in the French resort for four years.
Last year, she had been forced to put and end to her season and accept a second operation after her knee snapped on the OK piste.
Thanks to her victory, the American comfortably leads the downhill World Cup standings on 232 points, ahead of Slovenia’s Tina Maze, seventh today behind the Swiss trio of Lara Gut, Dominique Gisin and Fabienne Sutter.
“I already knew I could win here today. It was for other people to understand that I’m back to where I used to be. I’m very much looking forward to the rest of the season and have more opportunities to feel more comfortable with the speed and keep pushing myself,” Vonn said.
“It’s a celebration for myself and for the team around me. After two tough years, I’ve waited a long time for this and I’m very happy.”
Here are the full results.