Vail's Vonn wins World Cup super G title, closes within 96 points of Riesch in overall chase

By Real Vail
Real AspenMarch 6, 2011
TARAVISIO, Italy -- It's a testament to just how good of season Germany's Maria Riesch is having that Vail's Lindsey Vonn could wind up winning three of the five discipline globes and 10 World Cup races this season and still finish second to Riesch in the overall chase.

Vonn narrowed the overall gap (she's chasing his fourth straight overall title) to just 96 points behind Riesch today with a win in a super G in Taravisio, Italy. It was Vonn's eighth win this season, 41st of her career and it locked up her third discipline globe of the weekend. In consecutive days Vonn clinched the super combined title (her second straight), downhill title (her fourth straight) and the super G title (her third straight). She now has 12 total discipline titles.

"At this point I actually feel really relaxed," Vonn said. "I know I have to perform if I still want to be at all in contention for the overall and that's how I'm approaching it. I have to go after it and if I make mistakes I make mistakes. But I have to try to do my best to give Maria a run for her money."

Now there are only six races left in the season. The bad news is that four of them are in giant slalom and slalom, where Vonn has struggled all season and Riesch has been a podium machine. The German also has done well in the speed events of downhill and super G, and finished third today. Vonn's teammates, Julia Mancuso and Laurenne Ross finished second and fourth – the first time American women have been 1-2-4 in a race since 2007.

Vonn said the weekend's results gave her hope for the final regular-season World Cup race and the World Cup Finals, even in the tech events of slalom and GS.

"I'm really happy with the way this whole weekend turned out," Vonn said. "I'm especially happy with the super combined title; that is really important for me, particularly with my slalom."

The women's World Cup circuit heads to Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic, for giant slalom and slalom races March 11-12, and then the season ends March 14-20 with the World Cup finals in Lenzeheide, Switzerland.

On the men's side, Nolan Kasper, of Warren, Vt., produced the fastest second run of slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, to tie for second and earn the first FIS Alpine World Cup podium of his young career .

Kasper, seventh after the opening run, dominated the steep Podkoren slope to miss the top step by a mere .09 to Austrian Mario Matt while tying Sweden's Axel Baeck.

"To get a podium this early in my career is special," Kasper said. "I talked to my dad right after the race and he said everyone was fired up back in Vermont. I have a lot of family in New Jersey too and they're completely stoked."

Will Gregorak, a Ski and Snowboard Club Vail racer from Longmont, Colo., failed to finished the first run on the tricky course.

Audi FIS Alpine World Cup
Tarvisio, Italy – March 6, 2011
Super G

1. Lindsey Vonn, Vail, CO, 1:21.75
2. Julia Mancuso, Squaw Valley, CA, 1:21.98
3. Maria Riesch, Germany, 1:22.25
4. Laurenne Ross, Klamath Falls, OR, 1:22.45
11. Leanne Smith, Conway, NH, 1:22.73
26. Stacey Cook, Mammoth Mountain, CA, 1:23.84

Audi FIS Alpine World Cup
Kranjska Gora, Slovenia – March 6, 2011

1. Mario Matt, Austria, 1:49.14
2. Nolan Kasper, 1:49.23
2. Axel Baeck, Sweden, 1:49.23
Did not finish second run:
Ted Ligety (Park City, UT)
Did not qualify first run
Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV)
Did not finish first run:
Will Brandenburg (Spokane, WA), Will Gregorak (Longmont, CO)

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