Mancuso leads U.S. women in GS | SierraSun.com

Mancuso leads U.S. women in GS

U.S. Ski Team and Sun Staff report
AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati Julia Mancuso of Squaw Valley skis the first run of the women's World Cup Giant Slalom course in the ninth-best time on Saturday in Aspen, Colo. Mancuso finished 13th for the U.S. Womenand#8217;s top finish.
AP | AP\

ASPEN, Colo. and#8212; Under overcast skies on Aspen’s Strawpile run, Olympic champion Julia Mancuso of Squaw Valley led the U.S. Women on Saturday with a 13th-place finish in the GS at the Aspen Winternational World Cup.

Germany’s Kathrin Hoelzl won the race with a time of 2:09:63; Mancuso posted a 2:12.79.

and#8220;I am psyched to get two solid runs in,and#8221; Mancuso said. and#8220;The second run could have been better, but I made it to the finish and it feels pretty good. It’s really good. I hope to get back into the top 15. I’m right outside, so hopefully I can get enough points to get in there.and#8221;

Joining Hoelzl on the women’s podium were Austrian Kathrin Zettel in second and Federica Brignone of Italy in third.

According to Mancuso, while the course did present some difficulty with light and ski chatter, she is pleased with a result that alludes to the return of good results and continuity in her racing.

and#8220;The course was a little bit difficult for me. It was hard to get my rhythm. I definitely could have done better, but it felt good to get two solid runs. It’s a lot better than Soelden and it’s a good place to start,and#8221; Mancuso said. and#8220;I like hard snow, but I don’t like it too chattery.and#8221;

Following Mancuso for the U.S. was Colorado native Sarah Schleper, who raced with her family cheering her on to finish 23rd. According to Schleper, the Strawpile course presented a lot of challenges for the racers and required a lot of confidence.

and#8220;I think I skied the top well and the course was so smooth this time when I went down. But, I went a little too round and I think I was too conservative,and#8221; Schleper said. and#8220;The middle section here is so technically demanding. The terrain is so undulating and it’s the iciest part of the course so if you’re not charging and super confident it’s really easy to lose time out there.and#8221;

Megan McJames also made the second run of the race and was hammering the top of the course during run two when she slid out and did not finish.

The crowd in Aspen was fired up for the U.S. Team, and, in particular, for World Champion and World Cup overall champion Lindsey Vonn to race. But, a rock on the course threw the powerhouse off kilter and she was unable to make the top 30.

and#8220;I hit a rock about halfway down and my right foot just wasn’t holding anymore. I slid out about four times.and#8221; Vonn said. and#8220;I was just trying to make it down and I was laughing at myself because of how big of a tool I looked like. On this pond ice you really have no chance unless you have a sharp edge.and#8221;

But, it was the fans in the finish that lifted Vonn’s spirits, and as she waved to a group of young girls boasting a Lindsey Vonn poster, she explained what she hopes from Sunday’s slalom race in Aspen.

and#8220;These guys are out here cheering for me and they don’t care if I came in last place, they’re still cheering me on and that definitely makes me happy because today was not my best day,and#8221; Vonn said. and#8220;Aspen is the toughest place for me. It has so much terrain and its pond ice, but I’ll do the best I can and hopefully tomorrow goes better.and#8221;

OFFICIAL RESULTS and#8212; 2010 AUDI FIS ALPINE WORLD CUP

Aspen, CO and#8212; Women’s GS, Nov. 28

1. Kathrin Hoelzl, Germany, 2:09:63

2. Kathrin Zettel, Austria, 2:09.87

3. Federica Brignone, Italy, 2:10.76

4. Maria Pietilae-Holmner, Sewden, 2:11.18

5. Eva-Maria Brem, Austria

13. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA, 2:12.79

23. Sarah Schleper, Vail, CO, 2:13.75

– (top 30 qualify for second run)

39. Lindsey Vonn, Vail, CO, 1:08.33

42. Leanne Smith, Conway, NH, 1:08.58

45. Stacey Cook, Mammoth Mountain, CA, 1:09.15

DNF2: Megan McJames, Park City, UT

ASPEN, Colo. and#8212; The Czech Republic’s Sarka Zahrobska took her first run lead and parlayed it into the second World Cup slalom win in as many years at the Aspen Winternational Sunday. No U.S. Women qualified for the second run.

Austrians Marlies Schild and Kathrin Zettel followed Zahrobska on the podium in second and third, respectively. Kaylin Richardson led the U.S. women in 34th, followed by Hailey Duke in 35th and Julia Mancuso of Squaw Valley in 37th.

The Team remains in North America as the athletes now head to Lake Louise in Alberta for speed races.

OFFICIAL RESULTS and#8212; 2010 AUDI FIS ALPINE WORLD CUP

Aspen, Colo. and#8212; Women’s Slalom, Nov. 29

1. Sarka Zahrobska, Czech Republic, 1:43.45

2. Marlies Schild, Austria, 1:44.03

3. Kathrin Zettel, Austria, 1:44.22

4. Susanne Riesch, Gremany, 1:44.91

5. Maria Riesch, Germany, 1:45.40

34. Kaylin Richardson, Edina, MN, 58.04

35. Hailey Duke, Boise, ID, 58.11

37. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA, 58.70

39. Sarah Schleper, Vail, CO, 58.85

40. Sterling Grant, Amery, WI, 58.97

44. Julia Ford, Plymouth, WA, 1:00.43

DNF: Lindsey Vonn, Vail, CO