Mancuso establishing speedy trend
SPINDLERUV MLYN, Czech Republic ” Julia Mancuso of Olympic Valley finished ninth in a World Cup slalom Sunday after leading four teammates into the World Cup points in a giant slalom with an eighth-place finish on Saturday.
In Sunday’s slalom, Mancuso moved up six places with a strong second run to slip into the top-10.
Defending World Cup SL champ Marlies Schild of Austria won Sunday’s race with a time of 1:46.35, while Lindsey Vonn of Vail, Colo., went out four gates from the end while leading.
Slovakian Veronika Zuzulova was second (1:46.67) and Maria Riesch of Germany held on for third place (1:47.53) as the World Cup ended just its second visit to the Czech Republic for a women’s race.
Slalom world champion Sarka Zahrobska, who took four stitches in her face last week, delighted the home crowd by finishing fifth. She hadn’t been sure whether she would race this weekend after a shard of glass narrowly missed her eye when a champagne bottle broke during a ceremony to name a slope at Spindleruv Mlyn in her honor.
Mancuso, who posted the fifth-fastest second run, had a two-run time of 1:48.76. Vonn, fifth in the first run, had built a lead of 1.28 seconds through the first interval on her second run when she skied out. She sat briefly in the snow and then continued to the bottom of the run.
With her result, Riesch vaulted over Vonn and Mancuso into second place overall in the World Cup standings behind Austrian Nicole Hosp, who failed to finish her second run. After 16 races, Hosp has 559 points to 525 for Riesch, 505 for Vonn and 504 for Mancuso.
“It was a little disappointing, but we had one excellent result. Slalom’s not Julia’s strongest event,” Head Coach Chris Knight said. “She’s been working on it and her speed’s coming along nicely.
“But Lindsey nearly had one big blockbuster result. She got three or four gates from having it done, down at the bottom of the last pitch. She got late and was sitting back in her position. There’s a lot soft snow below this gate, and her ski got caught in the soft snow. She was carrying unbelievable speed down the hill and just got stacked up on the steep or she would have been right in there,” Knight said.
In addition to Mancuso’s eighth place Saturday, Truckee’s Stacey Cook finished 27th, while fellow American Vonn was 11th, Libby Ludlow 24th and Jessica Kelley 29th.
Denise Karbon of Italy won in a time of 2:16.98 to remain unbeaten after four GS races. Finn Tanja Poutiainen was second in 2:17.37 and Austrian Elisabeth Goergl third in 2:17.57. Mancuso finished in 2:18.45 and Cook in 2:21.09.
Mancuso is currently third in the GS points.
“Some mixed emotion today,” Knight, the U.S. coach, said. “You always want someone on the podium and when you’ve got five going, you can get a little greedy. It’s been a long time since we’ve had five in the second run and now we’re putting three, four, five girls in there each time and I’m happy about that. So are the girls.
“Jules had some fantastic sections but a couple of mistakes cost her on the first run. Then she took more risks on the second run. A couple of sections were right there with her best GS and a few more days of training should be even more help for her.
“Lindsey was fantastic, too. It’s a great result for her. She let it go. That’s three top-30s in a row for Libby, who can go faster, and for Stacey to come from starting so far back and score is incredible.”
1. Marlies Schild, Austria, 1:46.35
2. Veronika Zuzulova, Slovakia, 1:46.67
3. Maria Riesch, Germany, 1:47.53
4. Therese Borssen, Sweden, 1:47.84
5. Sarka Zahrobska, Czech Republic, 1:48.17
9. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, 1:48.76
Lindsey Vonn, Vail, Colo.
Did not qualify for 2nd run
Caitlin Ciccone, Bethlehem, N.H.; Hailey Duke, Boise, Idaho
1. Denise Karbon, Italy, 2:16.98
2. Tanja Poutiainen, Finland, 2:17.37
3. Elisabeth Goergl, Austria, 2:17.57
4. Kathrin Zettel, Austria, 2:17.80
5. Nicole Hosp, Austria, 2:17.90
8. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, 2:18.45
11. Lindsey Vonn, Vail, Colo., 2:19.25
25. Libby Ludlow, Bellevue, Wash., 2:20.21
27. Stacey Cook, Mammoth Mountain, Calif., 2:21.09
29. Jessica Kelley, Starksboro, Vt., 2:27.97
Did not qualify for 2nd run:
Megan McJames, Park City, Utah; Lauren Ross, Stowe, Vt.; Caitlin Ciccone, Bethlehem, N.H.
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