It has been a long week for Lindsey Vonn yet by the end of it, three wins were the perfect antidote to the illness that had affected her coming into the races. After dominating the two Downhill’s, for Vonn the Super G was business as usual as she put in another awesome performance. It was not, she admitted a faultless performance but it was still better than the rest of the field could muster. With the American’s taking their third one two of the visit to Lake Louise in the form of Julia Mancuso coming second to Vonn, best of the rest was Austrian Anna Fenninger.
Fenninger had been bitterly disappointed with her Downhill results, she was affected by the weather badly in the first race and so the Super G was a chance for her to put things to right. The determination as she rocketed out of the start was there to see – she was fighting like nothing else. Fenninger was a racer on a mission and by the time that she crossed the finish line she had put good distance between her and Lara Gut who had been in the lead up until that point.
Fenninger did not have time to get her jacket on before her time had been beaten. Julia Mancuso put in her best performance since she had swapped to the Head skis. The American was solid at the top, a little loose in the middle and got it back together at the bottom to sneak in to the lead by just two hundredths of a second. This was the excitement that the crowd were after. With Maria Hoefl-Riesch then coming down and making it a one two three for Head racers on the podium, we had a race on our hands.
While the weather was not as bad as it had been on the downhill days, the hill made sure that it had the respect of the racers as Tina Weirather then came down and twisted her upper body and then slide into the netting. Stunned, the diminutive racer from Liechtenstein was soon up on her feet, she later posted on Facebook that her lower leg was a little bruised but hopes to be back racing in time for St Moritz.
With Tina Maze on course, there was always the danger of her gate crashing the Head party on the podium. At the top the Slovenian was looking good and posting fast times. Then a sketchy section in the middle saw her lose valuable time and she lost the momentum that she had built up. By the time she crossed the finish line, it was into third place. When Lindsey Vonn is on the course and you are in third place, this must be the most aggrevating situation. When you are in Lake Louise and in third and Vonn is on her way down, you know that your position on the podium is not going to last long.
Vonn fought the weather and all the racers in the Downhills and won. this time she started gently and at each split the lead was growing. Vonn claimed after the race that she was running on empty after the three days of training for the downhills and then two days of racing prior to the Super G. Having been ill and run down in the run up to the races in Aspen, Vonn had put everything into the races and had been rewarded with two wins in the downhills and then when she crossed the line in the Super G this was win number seven in a row in Lake Louise. She became the first male or female to win three races in a resort in two different seasons. To add to all the statistics this was win number 56 taking her second in the all time win list on her own and chasing down on Anna Marie Moser Proell’s record of 62 wins. Anja Paerson used to hold the record of consecutive number of wins in a resort, 6, now Vonn owns this. Plus she had the small bonus of 100 world cup points.
With Vonn in the finish and leading by almost half a second the race was almost run. For the rest of the field it was a case of fighting for the minor places and trying to grab as many points as possible. Top spot was taken and the podium spots were etched on to the Head racers.
Mancuso had tried hard to wrestle the win from Vonn and at the middle of the race she had been in with a shout. Vonn is not willing to give up her top spot without a fight and she nailed the course to deprive her team mate of the win.
British interest in the race was with Chemmy Alcott again and after having the disappointment of being edged into 31st in the second downhill, Alcott was on the prowl for more World Cup points. Determination is something the girl has in bucket loads and she blasted out of the start. At each split, she was in touch but this was about getting the race fitness back into place. Alcott is made of tough stuff. She posted on her Facebook account as she left Lake Louise that she was leaving Lake Louise with her head held high. Alcott had come to town on a mission and had left with points in the bag. This is just one step and as the season unfolds she will get stronger and will keep challenging for points. It is a long season and Schladming will be her goal.
Yet again Alcott had to settle for 31st spot, the most frustrating spot on the results page of a World Cup race. This time it was 22 hundredths but more importantly, this was about gaining confidence for the rest of the season. The hoodoo had been put to rest. The better the results she keeps posting will make it easier for the media to keep her in the prime time spots!
The girls now head back to Europe to St Moritz for three races next weekend with Vonn having scored 300 points in the overall race to jump into third in the race for the Overall behind Tina Maze and Maria Hoefl-Riesch. Once the media commitments had been done the racers were off to airport and flying on to Europe for the next stop…