Mancuso races to a pair of top-10 finishes | SierraSun.com

Mancuso races to a pair of top-10 finishes

The Associated Press

WHISTLER, British Columbia ” Maria Riesch of Germany won the women’s World Cup super combined Sunday, while Americans Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso of Olympic Valley finished sixth and seventh in the only World Cup event in Whistler before the 2010 Olympics.

“I’m really satisfied with race I had,” said Mancuso, who finished third in Friday’s downhill. “The goal was to just go out, relax and enjoy skiing, and that’s been working really well for me.”

Riesch edged Austria’s Marlies Schild by 0.09 seconds for the win in the super combined, which pairs a super-giant slalom and slalom. Vonn, who clinched the World Cup downhill title Friday with a second-place finish ” becoming the first American woman to claim the crown since Picabo Street in 1996 ” had her lead in the overall World Cup standing trimmed to 54 points over Nicole Hosp after the Austrian finished fourth in the super combined.

Riesch, who was fastest in the morning’s super-giant slalom, took a careful line in the afternoon slalom run to finish in 2 minutes, 10.07 seconds.

“I was a little lucky, but you need some luck sometimes,” Riesch said. “I didn’t risk 100 percent in slalom; that’s why I lost a lot of time.”

Schild was fastest in the slalom, cutting far enough into Riesch’s lead to finish second. Sweden’s Anja Paerson was third in 2:10.38.

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Vonn had to rally after a poor super-giant slalom put her in 10th place. Her slalom run was fourth-fastest in 48.02.

“The goal today was to fight hard and to not lose ground on Nicole, and I think I did that pretty well,” Vonn said. “It wasn’t a win, but it was a solid performance and I’m looking forward to the next three weeks.”

American Leanne Smith was 23rd and Chelsea Marshall 25th.

The four races during the week were the first official test for the Olympics, where organizers spent millions on facility upgrades. Crowds of between 2,000 and 3,000 were on hand.

Most athletes praised the men’s super-giant slalom course and women’s downhill. There were some complaints the men’s giant slalom course wasn’t difficult enough, but Olympic officials said they received mostly positive feedback.

“For us, that was like getting an early report card with a few A’s on it,” said John Furlong, chief executive of the Vancouver Olympic Games Organizing Committee. “That was really positive.

Vonn was relieved to have clinched the downhill title Friday.

“It’s great to seal the deal with two races left,” she said. “I don’t have to worry about that anymore. That’s a big check off on my lifetime goals. It definitely feels great.”

Nadia Styger of Switzerland won the race in 1 minute, 45.30 seconds. Vonn made a mistake near the bottom of the course and finished 0.01 behind Styger.

Mancuso finished third in 1:45.49 and Truckee’s Stacey Cook was 24th in 1:47.16.

Vonn, a four-time World Cup downhill winner with two runner-up finishes this season, has 655 points in the discipline. Her nearest rival, Renate Goetschl of Austria, has 368 points after a fifth-place finish Friday. Janyk, who has a win and a third-place finish this season, is third in the downhill standings with 350 points.