Vonn feels 'awesome' in St. Anton training
Last season's World Cup Overall champ Lindsey Vonn felt "happy and strong" in her downhill training run in St. Anton Thursday. The American has been back on snow for about seven days since taking a three-week break in the middle of the season to fully recover from an intestinal infection that had been nagging her all season, she says.
Vonn spoke to the media briefly after her training run, in which she started fast but held back coming down the bumpy and twisty course to finish a cautious 24th.
"(St. Anton) is a difficult place to start back up on," said Vonn, who finished 3.98 seconds off the leading time of Lara Gut. "It's going to be a challenging course for the entire field, so hopefully I can have another good training run tomorrow, get comfortable on this course and have a good race on Saturday and Sunday."
Vonn has missed six races, all of them tech events, since she left Europe in early December to recover in the U.S. After being hospitalized for two days in November, Vonn won three straight speed races at Lake Louise, Alberta. She went on to win another super G the following week in St. Moritz, Switzerland, but struggled mightily in France, slipping into the fences in the downhill at Val d'Isere and failing to finish the opening run of a giant slalom at Courchevel.
"After being sick, my legs just weren't strong anymore," said Vonn. "At some point you have to listen to your body and I did, took a break, worked really hard, and now I'm strong again and ready to keep racing."
With a time of 1 minute, 38.31 seconds, Gut was more than a second ahead of runner-up Anna Fenninger (+1.02). However, the Austrian skied a clean run, while Gut missed gate No. 6.
It seemed to be the pattern for many of the girls Thursday, as super bumpy and flat-light conditions caused many racers to miss gates, including Daniela Merighetti, who was third on the timesheets.
Gut, who earned her first career downhill win at Val d’Isère last month, admitted with a smile that the course was tough, but she enjoyed it a lot.
“The snow on the top section is very aggressive, a bit like in Lake Louise, and very icy on the bottom part because of the rain of the last week. It is bumpy from the very top to the finish area. It’s actually crazy,” said the Swiss racer.
A similar observation was made by Anna Fenninger: “It was a fight, a fight all the way down. A fight for survival. This course is steep almost from the very top and it was very hard to ski today. Usually I feel very comfortable on my skis but not today. I am hoping to bring my winning momentum from 2012 into 2013. I am happy to have some speed races again, it’s been a while since Val d’Isere. I am especially looking forward to the super-G, which we also trained last few days.”
“It’s not the steepness that makes this course tough,” said France's Marie Marchand-Arvier. “It was the bumps. It is bumpy all the way down, and that’s tough. Your legs burn.”
Speed training resumes tomorrow with downhill racing set to commence on Saturday.
St. Anton (AUT)
Jan. 10, 2013
|16||AGERER Lisa Magdalena||1991||ITA||1:41.21|
|30||RUIZ CASTILLO Carolina||1981||SPA||1:42.80|
|57||SIMARI BIRKNER Maria Belen||1982||ARG||1:46.75|
|61||SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth||1991||NOR||2:02.24|
|Did not start 1st run|
|SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena||1984||ARG|
|Did not finish 1st run|