Vonn slip helps Goergl to first downhill win, Mancuso second
A small and temporary hole appeared in Lindsey Vonn's downhill armor today and Austrian racer Elisabeth Goergl took full advantage.
After more than a month’s break from speed events, the women of the World Cup were back in their downhill skis today (Jan. 7) in Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria as local favorite Goergl took her first World Cup downhill win.
Goergl, the 2011 downhill and super G world champion, was one of many woman to struggle with the unusually technical first pitch of the course, but she quickly found the right line on home snow to build a lead through the middle of the course and cross the finish line visibly exhausted but smiling widely. Austrian fans energetically celebrated the fourth win by an Austrian woman on home snow in the last three weeks as Goergl claimed her fourth career World Cup victory.
"I could not dream of a greater success, I'm very excited by this victory on home snow in front of my fans and family," Goergl told Reuters. "The course conditions were perfect for me, I love these challenging runs requiring a lot of determination. I fought very hard from top to bottom and didn't feel so comfortable on my way down, that's why I was so elated when I saw the number one next to my name on the timing board."
American Julia Mancuso, who had an impressive run to take the lead, fiver starters ahead of Goergl, finished 0.16 seconds behind the leader to claim her third podium of the young season in second. With today's result, Mancuso proved that her 16th and 23rd-place results in the first two downhill races of the season were merely a hiccup.
“It was a lot of fun and a very difficult course,” said Mancuso. “I was hoping that I could get the win but Liz skied really good and it was tough out there, you had to hold on and fight.”
Two days after her 27th birthday, Swiss racer Fabienne Suter finished third, 0.50 seconds off the leading pace and slid to a stop as fans sang her Happy Birthday in the finish area.
World Cup overall leader, American Lindsey Vonn had to utilize her well-developed recovery skills early on as she nearly fell on her left hip on the second turn of the technical upper course. She took huge risk through the rest of the track to make up for the speed scrubbing mistake and put together an impressive run to finish fourth, 0.55 seconds off the lead.
“I didn’t really have a good feeling from the very beginning,” said Vonn, who came down with a stomach illness at the last World Cup stop in Zagreb, Croatia. “My balance isn’t quite there and my energy isn’t there. I tried my best, I fought the whole way down but that was not the way I normally ski so I’m a bit disappointed.”
Vonn, winner of all four of this season’s first speed races with two downhill wins and two super G victories during the early North American portion of the tour, remains in command of the overall title chase with 691 points. Austrian slalom ace Marlies Schild stands second with 540 points, Goergl is third with 405 points.
The Franz Klammer course, named after the local ski racing legend and 1976 Olympic downhill champion who was in attendance today, was thinly covered, making for a hard, bumpy, 2850-meter ride through 43 gates. Skies were clear, though nearly the entire course was in the shade in the region that is known as the sunny side of the Alps.
Few racers in the 60-woman field had experience on this hill, last appearing on the World Cup schedule in 2006. The racers were only given one chance to meet this year’s course during a training run on Thursday. A second trainer was canceled on Friday due to high wins.
Goergl’s win ended a three-year World Cup downhill drought for the Austrian women.
“We’ll see,” said Goergl about tomorrow’s super G. “I like this slope and I have a good feeling for the skis and I’m in a good shape. I don’t expect anything for tomorrow either. I just focus on my skiing and I push it.”
Mancuso, the 17th woman down the course, led a large group of 10 U.S. starters and held the lead down the entire course to occupy the leader's box through the following four racers before being bumped by Goergl. The second-place result marks her best yet this season after taking two third-place finishes in the Aspen GS and the Lake Louise super G. She last topped a World Cup podium with the win in the final downhill of the 2011 season.
Fellow American Stacey Cook built on the ninth-place result she got in the previous downhill in Lake Louise, climbing up one spot in eighth today for her ninth career top-10 finish. Cook's 21-year-old teammate Julia Ford had a breakout day, scoring her first ever World Cup points in 22nd. Her previous best was a 34th-place results in last season's Lake Louise super G.
Laurenne Ross made a brave return to World Cup racing today after a scary tumble into the Lake Louise faces in early December, which required more than 100 stitches to repair deep cuts to her face. She finished 23rd after taking Thursday’s training run in free skiing style outerwear to minimize speed.
Alice McKennis was the last American in the points tied for 26th. Chelsea Marshall took 33rd, Kiley Staples had a career best in 38th and Brooke Wales and Leanne Smith failed to finish along with 14 other women.
Defending overall World Cup champion, German Maria Heofl-Riesch pulled out of today’s race after being diagnosed with the flu shortly after Thursday’s training run.
Women's World Cup racing in Bad Kleinkirchheim continues tomorrow with a super G scheduled to start at 11:45 CET (5:45 EST). -- Eric Williams
Images by Gepa
by Hank McKee
Women's World Cup Downhill, Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria, Jan. 7, 2012
1 Goergl, Head/Head/Head
2 Mancuso, Voelkl/Lange/Marker
3 Suter, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
4 Vonn, Head/Head/Head
5 Fanchini, Dynastar/Lange/Look
6 Gisin, Dynastar/Lange/Marker
7 Fischbacher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
8 Cook, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
9 Weirather, Atomic/Tecnica/Atomic
10 Ferk, Stoeckli//
10 Fenninger, Head/Head/Head
Women's World Cup Downhill, Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria, Jan. 7, 2012. ... It is the 13th of 40 races on the women's 2012 World Cup schedule with one cancellation. ... It is the third of nine scheduled downhills. ... It is the 20th Cup race hosted by Bad Kleinkirchheim, the tenth downhill. ... It is the first race at the site in six seasons.
It is the fourth career World Cup win for Elisabeth Goergl. ... her first in DH and her first in any discipline since December of 2009. ... It is her fourth podium of the season, two coming in GS and two in DH.
It is the 28th career World Cup podium result for Julia Mancuso. ... her 11th in downhill. ... and her third of the season, each coming in different disciplines. ... It is the 14th Cup podium of the season for the US team. ... She and Cindy Nelson are the only two Americans to gain podiums in DH at Bad Kleinkirchheim.
It is the 13th Cup podium result for Fabienne Suter. ... her fourth in downhill. ... It is her second podium of the season having also finished second in SG at Beaver Creek.
It is the 101st time Lindsey Vonn has finished in the top four of a World Cup race. ... Stacey Cook matches her fourth best career result and scores her ninth top 10. ... It is the first career scoring result for Julia Ford. ... Laurenne Ross matches her tenth best career result. ... It is the fourth time she has finished 23rd in a Cup event. ... It is the 14th career scoring result for Alice McKennis and her second of the season.
Vonn maintains her lead of the World Cup overall standings 691-540 over Marlies Schild (did not race). ... Goergl moves to third with 40-5pts. ... Mancuso holds eighth with 295pts. ... Marie-Michele Gagnon (did not race) is the top Canadian in 35th with 82pts. ... Vonn maintains the lead of the downhill standings 250-171 over Goergl. ... Dominique Gisin (sixth in race) is third with 145pts. ... Mancuso holds fifth with 103pts. ... Austria leads the women's Nations Cup standings 2361-1280 over the US. ... Canada is 11th with 187pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||FIS Points|
|13||44||495318||RUIZ CASTILLO Carolina||1981||SPA||1:49.94||18.89|
|29||46||298084||AGERER Lisa Magdalena||1991||ITA||1:51.68||40.24|
|Disqualified 1st run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|59||35079||SIMARI BIRKNER Maria Belen||1982||ARG|
|58||35089||SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena||1984||ARG|
|26||425880||SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth||1991||NOR|