Confirming their strong performances in recent weeks, HEAD’s top women champions dominated the first Super-combined event at Val d’Isère, in France, where Lindsey Vonn celebrated another blistering victory ahead of her dear friend Maria Riesch while Austria’s Elisabeth ‘Lisi’ Goergl came in 3rd ahead of Sweden’s Anja Paerson.
This Super combined marked win number three this season - and 25th for her career - for the double World Champion who captured the downhill portion of this first of three races planned this weekend in France by over a second and a half on her nearest rival.
At the end of both legs, the 25-year-old racer from Vail clearly beat all her rivals, finishing over a second ahead of Riesch. "I definitely had some fast skis today, but I also think I skied really well, " the defending Overall World Cup champion said. "I think I made most of my time in the turns today, which I was really happy about," Vonn added. "I still made one mistake in the middle where I was carried out in a turn because of my high speed, but in general I was pretty dynamic and generating a lot of speed from the turns. That's what ultimately I wanted to do - have a downhill solid run, and it was a good one, she also said."
According to Vonn, her plan to execute in the downhill helped give her an advantage in the slalom leg. "Slalom is not my best discipline for the moment and downhill right now is working really well for me, so my goal was just to have a solid downhill run and hopefully get an advantage, that way I wouldn't have to risk as much in the slalom," the American explained. "I was pretty cautious on the top part of the slalom and on the bottom I let things go, and I am really happy with the result."
"I didn't expect to win today, " Vonn also commented. "Super combined is always difficult to win. I'm really confident in downhill right now, but slalom is always difficult no matter where you're racing," she added. "I tried to ski well today so that I had a time advantage for the slalom so I didn't have to risk everything, and I think it worked well."
Lindsey Vonn is for sure the skier to beat in Saturday’s third downhill of the season. She already excelled on this slope in past years, winning her first European downhill there in December 2005. In 2006 she won again, beating her teammate Julia Mancuso by an impressive margin of 1,24 seconds.
Vonn has not achieved a hattrick in downhill so far in her career but last season she won the last five Super-G races in a row, including the one counting for the FIS World Championships at Val d’Isère.
"I’m definitely going to do my best out there with the next two races, but I know that they are other hungry girls out there who are ready to win too. I’m just hoping that it doesn’t snow too much, because the track is in perfect conditions. "
Maria Riesch will once more try her best to beat her in a speed event. The skier from Garmisch-Partenkirchen was pleased with her skiing and her result. "I’m pretty satisfied with my race,” she told the press after the race. "My downhill was really good but Lindsey was again unbeatable this morning in the downhill. She was completely at the limit, so 1,5 seconds back was a lot for me to make-up. I tried to attack in the slalom and try to get there and yet I didn’t find the right feeling at the beginning of the course. At that point, I decided just to ski down to the finish. At least I got the 2nd place, it’s still a good result for me. "
"The snow that we normally ski on in slalom is totally different. The slalom was on the downhill track and with really aggressive snow. We are more used to ski on ice, when the slopes are prepared with water. It’s a different feeling...I didn’t get the right feeling for the snow this time. I was just happy not to make a big mistake, because Elisabeth Goergl was pretty tight behind me! "
"It was a fight of course. If you want to attack and you don’t feel secure on the skis, you don’t have another choice. The snow was so aggressive that I was almost falling. I really had to fight to stay on the course. "
Interestingly enough, both friends are leading the Overall standings with 521 points prior the last races before the Christmas break!
Elisabeth Goergl is now in 6th place in the Overall classification after reaching her first podium ever in a Super-combined. She is now one of the few skiers having finished among the best-3 in all World Cup disciplines. Two weeks ago, she celebrated her first season win at Lake Louise in a Super-G.
"This is really fun, I enjoy being back on the podium, "said the Austrian leader who has already scored points in all specialties this winter. "It’s just too bad I made a big mistake this morning in downhill, but my slalom run this afternoon was strong. It’s a good boost for my moral before the coming speed races here. This course is pretty fast and demanding, it requests much determination. I like it and I’ll fight for more here this weekend.”
This will also be the case for Anja Paerson who showed at Lake Louise that she has the potential for more wins, especially in Super-G. The Swede has been very consistent since the season star, yet she has not reached a podium so far this winter. It may happen sooner than later.