She did it ! 24 hours after winning her first race of the season, USA’s Lindsey Vonn celebrated her first double downhill victory at Lake Louise, capturing her 7th World Cup race in Canada, her 24th since 2004.
The reigning downhill World Champion had to fight hard again to beat by 35/100 of a second her good friend Maria Riesch while a another HEAD champion, Anja Paerson came in 4th missing the podium by only 41/100. Austria’s Elisabeth Goergl, also racing on HEAD, was a strong 6th confirming the efficiency of their skis.
Starting a few minutes after Riesch, Vonn had to charge the final part of the well prepared ‘Mens Olympic Downhill Run’ with great determination to finish once more ahead of her friend with whom she shared their fifth podium here.
Riesch was faster than the American in the upper part of the course, but lost her momentum on the lower gliding section where Vonn made up much time. This allowed her to improve Katja Seizinger's record of six wins by one victory.
“It’s quite exciting for me, I did win two events in a row a few years ago at St. Anton where I won the downhill first and then the Super-combined, but this is my first double-downhill victory here,” said the defending Overall World Cup champion afterwards.
“The conditions were great as the course has been groomed yesterday after the race so it was very smooth. I knew I had to give what I had in me to win again. It’s not easy at all as I already achieved quite a strong race yesterday. In fact I didn’t ski as aggressively in the upper part where I had my problems yesterday but I was very determined in the final part.”
“I thought that Maria would go for it and be hard to beat today, she is also a great fighter. I’m glad she had such a strong run and I enjoyed being again next to her on the podium. It means a lot to us to be both on the podium. It’s obvious that our skis were again very fast today. I’m really glad to have switched to HEAD last summer, my serviceman is doing a hell of a job.”
“I have now won two downhill races as last winter, so I feel extremely confident looking forward to the coming events. I still feel able to improve my level and I’m happy to compete again at Val d’Isère on the La Daille course where I won a downhill a few years ago.”
Asked about her chance to achieve her first hattrick here, Lindsey tried to be reasonably optimistic for Sunday’s race. “I’ll for sure try hard to win again but this is always the case at the start of any race, not only because I can set a record or do something special,” she explained. “It doesn’t give me an extra motivation, I’m anyway always fighting as hard as I can. We shall see,” added the skier from Vail who remains on a winning streak on five consecutive wins in Super G since last January including at the Val d’Isère 2009 Worlds.
“The most important is to remain fresh in my mind and ready to throw myself down the course with much energy. It will be our sixth consecutive day of skiing here and it’s not easy to remain loaded with a lot of emotion.”
Germany Katja Seizinger achieved that impressive hattrick back in 1997 at Lake Louise – and also at Val d’Isère a year earlier. Alberto Tomba too won three races in three consecutive days during his great 1994/95 season.
Maria was not too disappointed to finish in 2nd place behind her friend as she believed to have given her best to win the race. “I skied better than yesterday, I felt more comfortable today, I was not so happy yesterday with the bad weather conditions,” she said. “Today I managed to fully attack the course and I hit everything pretty well except for a few bubbles in the final part,” the skier from Garmisch-Partenkirchen added. The fact that Maria suffers a cold may also explain that she lost some strength at the end of her run.
“I’m happy to have been able to ski the upper part so fast, it has been pretty exciting and I enjoyed it a lot. The conditions were awesome, maybe a little to smooth. I rather ski on a more challenging course but I don’t want to complain. It’s nice to start the speed season with two podiums, it’s good to know I can ski very fast. I must have reached nearly ten podiums here in total, it’s a fun course for me.”
“It’s crucial to be consistent and keep on accumulating good results, it’s a strong boost for your confidence and motivation. I have been looking for months coming back here and skiing that course as fast as possible. I’ll do my best again in the Super G and would be very proud to reach once more the podium.”
Another potential candidate for future podiums in the speed events is Sweden’s Anja Paerson, who was close to reach her second podium in Lake Louise. “I did ok today, better at least than yesterday,” the former downhill World Champion said.
“I skied the upper part pretty well yesterday but lost some time at the end. Today I was more consistent but still not fast enough. I became a late starter, I need some time now to warm up my engine, but I’m looking forward for the next races, especially at Are. I trained a lot of giant slalom last summer and I hope it will soon pay off. I set myself high goals this season, especially for the Overall title. I know I can do better than what I got last winter.”