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Hoefl-Riesch back on top in Lake Louise


Yurkiw in yesterday's training (GEPA/Mario Kneisl)

Yurkiw in yesterday’s training (GEPA/Mario Kneisl)

For the U.S. women’s speed team, there is not much good news to report from the first of two downhills in Lake Louise. On a track where last season the Americans earned six of nine possible podium spots, today they recorded four of the five slowest times after 30 racers.

The one bright spot for the squad was B Teamer Julia Ford earning her career best World Cup result and leading the team in 21st. Julia Mancuso was the only other American in the top 30; she finished 26th. C Teamer Jackie Wiles was also able to turn strong training into a positive result; she just missed out on World Cup points in 32nd position.

“It feels really good after my health issues … to be back out here and charging in a healthy state,” said Ford. “Today was a step, but I want to go faster.”

Ford said her training run Thursday, in which she finished ninth, gave her some confidence heading into the race: “It was nice to throw one in there so you know you’re capable of doing it. Today was good, but I’m looking forward to being even closer to that top group.”

Maria Hoefl-Riesch was in a league of her own, beating out runner-up Maria Kaufmann-Abderhalden by seven-tenths of a second. Italy’s Elena Fanchini rounded out the podium, 1.20 seconds back.

Most everyone in the field enjoyed a one-spot bump after Tina Weirather, who finished fifth, was ultimately disqualified for use of illegal arm guards, a new rule this season.

Canadian Larisa Yurkiw, who has struggled to score World Cup points since an injury in 2009, failed to make criteria and was dropped from her national team last spring. She has since self-funded her journey on the World Cup circuit with an eye on qualifying for Sochi. After a breakthrough weekend in Beaver Creek where she placed 15th in the super G, today she charged hard from bib 51 into 7th, securing half of the Olympic qualifying criteria for her country.

“I’m having a really good time, and I’m surrounded by people who believe in me and it’s making me feel full and confident going into the start more than ever before. It’s something I’ve strived for in the past, but we’re just building and growing something pretty special with this journey,” Yurkiw said. As for competing independently, Yurkiw has embraced the process. “In a way, it kind of took the pressure off. It definitely added a ton of pressure if I look at the situation from the outside, but I think there’s pressure that’s not helpful and I had a lot of that in the past.”

Perhaps the most anticipated racer of the day, Lindsey Vonn made a return to World Cup racing for the first time since her season-ending knee injury at the World Championships 10 months ago. She finished 40th, ending a seven-race win streak at Lake Louise. Vonn appeared to be skiing conservatively in her comeback effort, possibly also favoring her uninjured left leg, especially when landing off jumps.

“I’m hoping that tomorrow, but you know it does take a little bit of time to build the confidence back up,” said Vonn, who was in good spirits. “Normally, I come into Lake Louise and I’ve already had two or three or four races under my belt. You know, this is my first race, not only of the season, but since my injury in February. So it’s been a long time.”

A healthy Stacey Cook, who was on the podium twice in Lake Louise in 2012, finished two-hundredths better than Vonn in 39th place. Leanne Smith got off to a slow start in her run and finished 49th. And the struggles continued for Laurenne Ross, who finished 56th.

“The run was fine,” said Smith. “I felt like I skied the line well and I was tucking a lot. But I was far out, so it just came at me slower, I think. … I think a lot of it was I may have been too hard on my edges. … I got to figure out where I can make up time and see where I can be smoother.”

“The course felt good. It’s getting a little bumpier every day,” said Ross. “No surprises though. Everything is pretty much as we inspected it. You just have to go for it, and I think I gave it a little too much respect.”

 

The Scoop 

By Hank McKee

Women’s World Cup Downhill, Lake Louise, Canada, Dec. 6, 2013

Equipment Skier, skis/boots/bindings

1 Hoefl-Roesch, Head/Lange/Head

2 Kaufmann-Abderhalden, Head/Nordica/Head

3 Fanchini, Dynastar/Lange/Look

4 Fenninger, Head/Head/Head

5 Jnglin-Kamer, Stoeckli/Tecnica/Marker

6 Maze, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic

7 Yurkiw, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol

7 Gut, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol

9 Ruiz Castillo, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon

10 Gut, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol

It is the sixth of 32 races on the women’s 2013-14 World Cup season. … The second of nine scheduled downhills. … It is the 93rd World Cup event hosted at least in part at Lake Louise. … the 56th downhill.

It is the 26th career World Cup victory for Maria Hoefl-Riesch. … her ninth downhill. … It is the fourth time she has won at Lake Louise, all in downhill.

It is the third career World Cup podium result and a career best for  Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden, and her second podium at Lake Louise having placed third in the downhill last season.

It is the third career World Cup podium for Elena Fanchini, … and her second at Lake Louise having won the 2005 downhill.

It is a career best World Cup placing for Larisa Yurkiw, besting a ninth from the Tarvisio downhill, Feb. 21, 2009. … It is a career best World Cup placing for Julia Ford, besting her only other scoring finish, a 22nd from Bad Kleinkirchheim Jan. 7, 2012.

It is the worst of 25 scoring placings at Lake Louise for Julia Mancuso.

Lara Gut (tenth in race) leads the World Cup overall standings 326-293 over Maria Hoefl-Riesch. … Anna Fenninger (fourth in race) is third overall with 225pts. … Mikaela Shiffrin is the top American in fourth with 220pts. … Marie-Michele Gagnon is top Canadian overall in 14th with 91pts. … Hoefl-Riesch leads the downhill standings 136-126 over Gut. … Elena Fanchini holds third at 120pts.

Austria leads the women’ Nations Cup 879-761 over Switzerland. … Germany is third with 5229pts.

Results

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Total Time FIS Points
 1  20  206001 HOEFL-RIESCH Maria 1984 GER  1:56.03  0.00
 2  30  515782 KAUFMANN-ABDERHALDEN Marianne 1986 SUI  1:56.73  8.27
 3  10  296472 FANCHINI Elena 1985 ITA  1:57.23  14.17
 4  22  55947 FENNINGER Anna 1989 AUT  1:57.30  15.00
 5  9  515806 JNGLIN-KAMER Nadja 1986 SUI  1:57.54  17.83
 6  17  565243 MAZE Tina 1983 SLO  1:57.57  18.18
 7  51  106849 YURKIW Larisa 1988 CAN  1:57.66  19.25
 7  6  55913 MOSER Stefanie 1988 AUT  1:57.66  19.25
 9  11  495318 RUIZ CASTILLO Carolina 1981 SPA  1:57.76  20.43
 10  21  516138 GUT Lara 1991 SUI  1:57.79  20.78
 11  55  505886 KLING Kajsa 1988 SWE  1:57.84  21.37
 12  24  205218 REBENSBURG Viktoria 1989 GER  1:57.85  21.49
 13  28  515747 GISIN Dominique 1985 SUI  1:57.88  21.84
 14  23  55576 GOERGL Elisabeth 1981 AUT  1:57.90  22.08
 15  29  565360 STUHEC Ilka 1990 SLO  1:58.01  23.38
 16  35  56128 HUETTER Cornelia 1992 AUT  1:58.05  23.85
 17  49  56087 SIEBENHOFER Ramona 1991 AUT  1:58.08  24.20
 18  14  55766 STERZ Regina 1985 AUT  1:58.29  26.68
 19  27  296427 SCHNARF Johanna 1984 ITA  1:58.47  28.81
 20  8  196460 MARCHAND-ARVIER Marie 1985 FRA  1:58.50  29.16
 21  56  538855 FORD Julia 1990 USA  1:58.51  29.28
 22  4  425880 SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth 1991 NOR  1:58.52  29.40
 23  46  55970 SCHMIDHOFER Nicole 1989 AUT  1:58.58  30.11
 24  25  296431 STUFFER Verena 1984 ITA  1:58.60  30.34
 25  43  565320 FERK Marusa 1988 SLO  1:58.64  30.82
 26  12  537545 MANCUSO Julia 1984 USA  1:58.66  31.05
 27  13  296008 MERIGHETTI Daniela 1981 ITA  1:58.71  31.64
 28  7  296729 FANCHINI Nadia 1986 ITA  1:58.88  33.65
 29  34  516185 HAEHLEN Joana 1992 SUI  1:58.89  33.77
 30  57  425929 MOWINCKEL Ragnhild 1992 NOR  1:58.93  34.24
 30  1  515573 AUFDENBLATTEN Fraenzi 1981 SUI  1:58.93  34.24
 32  54  197006 GAUTHIER Marine 1990 FRA  1:58.95  34.48
 32  53  539536 WILES Jacqueline 1992 USA  1:58.95  34.48
 34  36  56088 TIPPLER Tamara 1991 AUT  1:58.97  34.71
 35  38  516219 NUFER Priska 1992 SUI  1:59.01  35.19
 35  33  515849 DETTLING Andrea 1987 SUI  1:59.01  35.19
 37  26  515766 SUTER Fabienne 1985 SUI  1:59.05  35.66
 38  48  245066 MIKLOS Edit 1988 HUN  1:59.18  37.19
 39  16  537582 COOK Stacey 1984 USA  1:59.20  37.43
 40  18  537544 VONN Lindsey 1984 USA  1:59.22  37.67
 41  60  375018 COLETTI Alexandra 1983 MON  1:59.30  38.61
 42  40  297702 MARSAGLIA Francesca 1990 ITA  1:59.44  40.26
 43  50  206367 HRONEK Veronique 1991 GER  1:59.45  40.38
 44  45  206460 WENIG Michaela 1992 GER  1:59.47  40.62
 45  3  55750 FISCHBACHER Andrea 1985 AUT  1:59.49  40.85
 46  32  298323 GOGGIA Sofia 1992 ITA  1:59.52  41.21
 47  39  155563 KRIZOVA Klara 1989 CZE  1:59.56  41.68
 48  42  297134 BORSOTTI Camilla 1988 ITA  1:59.63  42.51
 49  15  538305 SMITH Leanne 1987 USA  2:00.01  46.99
 50  59  485632 BEDAREVA Maria 1992 RUS  2:00.26  49.94
 51  52  196968 BAILET Margot 1990 FRA  2:00.27  50.06
 52  41  197295 PIOT Jennifer 1992 FRA  2:00.56  53.49
 53  58  155415 STRACHOVA Sarka 1985 CZE  2:00.57  53.61
 54  44  539685 RYAN Katie 1993 USA  2:00.85  56.91
 55  47  298084 AGERER Lisa Magdalena 1991 ITA  2:00.94  57.97
 56  5  538573 ROSS Laurenne 1988 USA  2:01.00  58.68
 57  37  565333 BRODNIK Vanja 1989 SLO  2:01.03  59.04
 58  61  435245 CHRAPEK Karolina 1990 POL  2:01.16  60.57
Disqualified 1st run
 19  355050 WEIRATHER Tina 1989 LIE
Did not start 1st run
 2  206175 STECHERT Gina 1987 GER
Did not finish 1st run
 31  55690 HOSP Nicole 1983 AUT
Crowded SG podium in Beaver Creek, Ligety just misses in 5thSvindal picks up career fourth win in Beaver Creek

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