World Cup alpine racing: Mancuso ‘getting up to speed’ in Spain | SierraSun.com

World Cup alpine racing: Mancuso ‘getting up to speed’ in Spain

U. S. Ski Team reports

Armando Trovati/AP photoJulia Mancuso speeds past a gate during the first run of Saturday's World Cup women's giant slalom in La Molina, Spain. Mancuso placed 18th and followed with a 26th-place finish in Sunday's slalom.

LA MOLINA, Spain ” Julia Mancuso of Olympic Valley finished 18th in Saturday’s Audi FIS World Cup giant slalom and 26th in Sunday’s slalom.

Finland’s Tanja Poutianen took the win Saturday, and on Sunday World Cup slalom leader Lindsey Vonn of the United States finished second behind Germany’s Maria Riesch. It was a timely podium finish for Vonn, who was disqualified in the first run of Saturday’s GS for missing a gate.

U.S. Women’s Tech Head Coach Trevor Wagner said that while Mancuso committed a few minor mistakes in her first GS run, she is making good progress overall.

“She’s just getting up to speed. She doesn’t have as many giant slalom days as a lot of other women do because she was injured,” Wagner said. “Every race she just keeps getting a little stronger.”

Wagner also said Mancuso’s skiing was good enough to keep up with the top finishers in certain sections of the course, which bodes well for her future.

“She has sections that are right up to speed with the other women, then she’ll have a little mistake,” Wagner said. “Any day now, she’ll start putting it back together and be up to speed.”

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Poutianen took the top spot in the GS with a time of 2:16.76, and was followed by Italian Manuela Moelgg (2:16.78) and Austrian Nicole Hosp (2:17.41). Mancuso finished in 2:19.49.

On Sunday Mancuso posted a combined time of 1:59.32 between the two runs. Riesch built nearly a full second lead on the field with her first run and dominated the day, recording a combined time of 1:52.98 to Vonn’s 1:54.46.

“For a second I thought Lindsey may get the win, but Maria’s first run was too good,” said Jim Tracy, U.S. women’s Alpine head coach. “Maria pretty much schooled everyone on the first run. But Lindsey is super confident and it definitely showed (Sunday).”

Tracy agreed with Wagner that Mancuso is making strides in her comeback.

“Julia had some good sections, but as usual she isn’t quite there yet,” Tracy said on Sunday. “She didn’t qualify in Aspen ” she went out ” so this was a start. It’s still going to take some time.”

Women’s giant slalom ” Saturday

1. Tanja Poutianen, Finland, 2:16.76

2. Manuela Moelgg, Italy, 2:16.78

3. Nicole Hosp, Austria, 2:17.41

4. Elisabeth Goergl, Austria, 2:18.18

5. Michaela Kirchgasser, Austria, 2:18.20

18. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, 2:19.49

– (top 30 make second run)

47. Hailey Duke, Boise, Idaho, 1:13.87

DNF1: Sarah Schleper (Vail, Colo.)

DQ: Lindsey Vonn (Vail, Colo.)

Women’s slalom ” Sunday

1. Maria Riesch, Gremany, 1:52.98

2. Lindsey Vonn, Vail, CO, 1:54.46

3. Kathrin Zettel, Austria, 1:55.34

4. Sarka Zahrobska, Czech Republic, 1:55.53

5. Anja Paerson, Sweden, 1:55.64

25. Sarah Schleper, Vail, Colo., 1:59.24

26. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, 1:59.32

(top 30 qualify for second run)

38. Hailey Duke, Boise, Idaho, 57.90

DNF1: Sterling Grant (Amery, Wisc.)

High winds and blowing snow forced organizers to cancel the men’s slalom race that was to be held in Val d’Isere on Sunday.

The U.S. Ski Team is looking ahead to the next pair of World Cup events, which will be held Dec. 19-20 in Val Gardena, Italy, for super G and downhill, and Dec. 21 in Alta Badia, Italy, for giant slalom.