Lindsey Vonn said it all when she clenched her fists and screamed “That is what I am talking about!” Having skied out of the Slalom section of the Super Combined the day before following a disappointing Super G run, Vonn was back to her imperious best in the Super G. Having won last time out in Lake Louise, Vonn was keen to put the gremlins to bed. The best way to do that was to show the rest of the field the way home. The course for the second race of the three in St Moritz was set by the coach of her rival, Tina Maze, yet Vonn was just that little bit faster all the way down than Maze. Maze had been first of the top seeds down and had grabbed a decent lead. The look on Victoria Rebensburg who had lead in the finish said it all, disbelief. Rebensburg would finish sixth as Julia Mancuso took her second podium in Super G this season, Fabienne Suter gave the home crowd a positive finish in fourth and Maria Hoefl-Riesch nudged her compatriot down one more place to take fifth.
While the weather conditions were not as bleak as for the Super Combined, Vonn had the added benefit of the weather Gods allowing the sun to come through as she left the start. Vonn is a fighter and does not like taking second. This was a win to banish those that said she was waning; this was win number 57 and took her another notch closer to Anne Marie Moser-Proell’s all time win record. Records are what inspire the American as it is “records that will be left behind when I have finished,” she said afterwards. If anyone would think though that Vonn had nailed the run, in her mind she had still made a few mistakes yet had been more aggressive than in the Super G for the Super Combined.
With Julia Mancuso just over a second behind Vonn in third, the rest of the field have their work cut out to catch up with the two outstanding racers of the season so far. Maze admitted after the race that she was close enough to dream that she could do it yet knew that Vonn was a fighter so it would have to be a good run to win. Yet for Mancuso, she feels that she is skiing well, this was her second podium in Super G this season, but being a second off Vonn knows she will have to look and see where her countrywoman is getting the advantage.
While Vonn, Maze and Mancuso took to the podium, Chemmy Alcott was still smiling in the finish area. The frustration of having been knocked out of the top thirty and thus not getting more World Cup points was there but when asked if this was still a good day at the office she said “yes. I know that I can go at least a second faster and I was only 2.86 off Lindsey, so I am happy. I was also only 1.85 off the podium.” This was a frustrating day for her but it also had so many positives. The leg is still burting she admitted and she is still struggling with skiing in the flat light. She needs, she admitted, “good light as this helps massively with my confidence.”
While the day may have belonged to Vonn as she pulled twenty points back in the race for the Overall, Chemmy Alcott is making small steps of her own back into the mix of racers challenging. She has a group of racers she is travelling and training with that are pushing each other and for the first time in her career she has a fellow racer that she can bounce ideas off on the same brand as she races on. Chemmy trains with the Canadians, who train with the Swedish, who train with the Norwegians and it is from there that Lotte Sejersted is from. Both racers are on Atomic and Alcott is delighted with the support that the Austrian brand is giving her.
Alcott was just behind Niki Hosp on this run. Hosp had placed sixth in the Super Combined Super G and it is little steps and marks like these that give her more confidence. Canadian Larisa Yurkiw came back from injury last season and failed to score a World Cup point and Chemmy is using her as a marker this season. The two of them are pushing each other on to bigger and better things.
It is the mental side of things that Alcott knows she also has to work on. She knows that she is impatient to get back to her best but nows that she also has to take small steps to get there. As a result of this she will not take part in the GS in St Moritz so she can rest her leg. Alcott is in this for the long haul!
So Vonn moves back in to the think of things with this win, a step closer to Annemarie Moser-Proell’s record number of wins, it places her also second on the list of wins in Super G (behind a certain Hermann Maier). Impressive stuff, It was the way that she won that said it most emphatically. We are in a for a hell of a season if these two keep this standard up.