Vonn misses gate, loses overall lead
ZAGREB, Croatia – With her arm in a brace and her hand aching, Lindsey Vonn missed a slalom gate and lost her overall lead in the World Cup standings.
Her mistake came at the 15th gate during the second run Sunday, and she did not finish a race won by Sandrine Aubert of France.
Vonn, the two-time defending overall champion, was skiing with a brace on her left arm and her pole taped to her hand after bruising a bone in a fall last Monday. This time, she was 1.71 seconds back after the opening run.
“In the first run, my hand hurt,” she said. “In the second run, I went full risk and maybe tried too hard.”
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Last February, Vonn also skied with an arm brace and her hand taped to a pole. She had slashed her right thumb on a champagne bottle while celebrating her downhill victory at the world championships.
Vonn will try to regain the overall lead when the women’s World Cup circuit resumes next weekend with two downhills and a super-G in Haus im Ennstal, Austria.
“She’s still a little tentative with her arm, but it’s healing up nicely and she’ll get another good break before going into speed races in Austria next weekend,” U.S. coach Trevor Wagner said. “It would have been nice for the overall if she’d scored a few points today. But she’s racking them up in speed races, so she’ll be fine.”
Aubert’s victory was her second this season and fourth of her career. She had the fastest second run on the Crveni Spust course and had a total time of 2 minutes, 0.36 seconds.
Maria Riesch of Germany finished fourth to take the lead in the standings with 599 points. Vonn has 594 and Kathrin Zettel of Austria has 569.
Zettel finished second, 0.43 seconds behind Aubert after having the fastest first run.
“The podium was my goal,” Zettel said. “Leading after the first run was a surprise to me. I’ve got to learn to cope with such a situation.”
Riesch’s sister, Susanne, finished third, 0.74 behind Aubert. Aubert, who was fourth after the first leg, tops the slalom standings after also winning last month in Are, Sweden.
“I love to come back from behind and put pressure on the leaders,” she said. “But in slalom, you always need some luck as well,”
Austria’s Marlies Schild, second going into the final run, fell shortly before the finish. She is returning this season after breaking a leg in October 2008.
“I am obviously disappointed not to finish,” she said. “On the other hand, I couldn’t ski the whole past season and that was harder to take.”
Canada’s Anna Goodman crashed at the next-to-last gate in her first run. She appeared to have injured her right knee.
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