Vonn nearly claims first World Cup GS podium
MARIBOR, Slovenia – Two-time defending overall champion Lindsey Vonn of Vail, Colo., was challenging for a podium result until going out near the finish line of her second run Saturday in an Audi FIS Alpine World Cup giant slalom won by Austrian Kathrin Zettel.
“It happens,” said women’s alpine head coach Jim Tracy of the bad breaks that have riddled Vonn’s recent slalom history. “Unfortunately, she’s had her fair share of it, and enough’s enough now.”
Vonn, who had failed to reach the final run of her previous three giant slaloms, charged to a second-place first run that positioned the 2010 overall leader to bid for her first-ever World Cup podium in the discipline.
“I’ve been really frustrated with how much I’ve been crashing in tech events,” Vonn told SkiRacing.com. “All I wanted was to have a good run and make it to the finish.”
Vonn made a mistake early in her second run, going up on one ski, then recovered and skied aggressively to make up time before hitting a bump and going off course late.
“I just hit a rut,” she said. “I couldn’t really see anything. I’m just so mad.”
A day after she said Vonn’s 112-point World Cup overall lead was insurmountable because of the preponderance of speed events remaining, Germany’s Maria Riesch took second and closed the gap to 32.
“We know that she’s got podium potential in every single event that she enters,” Tracy said. “She’s had that confidence, she just hasn’t been consistent.”
Julia Mancuso of Olympic Valley, the only other American to make the top 30 final, was 25th for the U.S. Team.
“A few of them are kind of feeling the pressure,” Tracy said, pointing to slightly tentative skiing Saturday as an indicator of the tension. “They let it go, but they let it go about 75 percent.”
2010 AUDI FIS WORLD CUP
At Maribor, Slovenia
Jan. 16 Women’s Giant Slalom
1. Kathrin Zettel, Austria, 2:36.22
2. Maria Riesch, Germany, 2:36.45
3. Anja Paerson, Sweden, 2:36.70
4. Kathrin Hoelzl, Germany, 2:37.08
5. Andrea Fischbacher, Austria, 2:37.13
25. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, 2:39.13
DNF2: Lindsey Vonn, Vail, Colo.
DNQ: Megan McJames, Park City, Utah; Jessica Kelley, Starksboro, Vt.; Sarah Schleper, Vail, Colo.