Lindsey Vonn extends overall World Cup lead with eighth-place finish; Mancuso places 21st
OFTERSCHWANG, Germany ” Two-time World Champion Lindsey Vonn finished eighth in a giant slalom Friday, extending her overall lead in the World Cup standings to 414 points over Maria Riesch of Germany. One race remains before the World Cup finals.
Julia Mancuso of Olympic Valley finished 21st and will compete in downhill and giant slalom at World Cup Finals. Truckee native Stacey Cook did not qualify for a second run.
Austrian Kathrin Zettel won with a two-run combined time of 2:36.48, with teammate Elizabeth Georgl second and Fin Tanja Poutianen third. With only the World Cup Finals giant slalom remaining, Zettel holds a 41-point advantage in the discipline standings over Poutianen.
“The snow wasn’t all that bad and the course stayed in great shape. It was a pretty tight set, but it was fine. The girls who were fast today are the girls who have been fast all year in giant slalom,” said U.S. Women’s Alpine Head Coach Jim Tracy.
Leading at the top split, Vonn made an incredible save in the middle section after sliding shortly on her hip, but wasn’t able to recover the lost speed.
If Vonn carries a lead of 401 points or better out of Saturday’s slalom, she will mathematically have clinched her second overall World Cup title. No American woman has ever won the season-long crown twice, let alone in two consecutive seasons. Only Phil Mahre and Bode Miller have won two World Cup overall titles with Mahre doing so in 1981, ’82 and ’83.
However, the chase is not over. Riesch and Vonn have combined for six World Cup slalom wins this season. Four belong to Riesch, who is the newly crowned slalom World Champion and leads Vonn in the discipline standings by 140 points with two races remaining.
“It’s great Lindsey has such a big lead in the overall, but she wasn’t happy with the way she skied today,” said Tracy. “She skis to be on the podium in every race and she’s at a level where she can do that, she expects more of herself. She’s a little mad after today and we’ll see that come out in tomorrow’s slalom.”
Vonn, the super G and downhill World Champion, has already clinched her second downhill title in as many seasons to match Picabo Street, who won the discipline in 1995 and ’96. She is top 10 in every World Cup discipline, is just 15 points out of the super G lead and will finish the season second in the super combined standings.
Last season, Vonn became the first woman to win the prestigious overall title since Tamara McKinney in 1983, the only other American woman to win an overall. Vonn also has surpassed McKinney’s career World Cup win total and holds the new women’s U.S. record with 19.
Mancuso has a giant slalom spot at next week’s World Cup Finals, but Megan McJames fell short of securing her trip to Are, Sweden.
“Julia had some great sections and might have run out of gas a little bit at the finish, but at this point, she’s carrying all this into next season,” said Tracy. “For our other girls, we expected a lot more. Sarah had a good run going then hooked her arm on a gate and couldn’t get it back and Megan had a really good opportunity to qualify for World Cup finals and she didn’t execute her plan. Stacey too, all these girls are better than this and they know that.”
1. Kathrin Zettel, Austria, 2:36.48
2. Elisabeth Goergl, Austria, 2:36.60
3. Tanja Poutianen, Finland, 2:37.00
4. Tina Maze, Slovenia, 2:37.26
5. Denise Karbon, Italy, 2:37.76
8. Lindsey Vonn, Vail, Colo., 2:38.33
21. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, Calif., 2:39.68
Did not qualify
Sarah Schleper (Vail, Colo.), Stacey Cook (Mammoth, Calif.), Megan McJames (Park City, Utah)