CORTINA d’AMPEZZO, Italy – Without even putting her all into it, Lindsey Vonn threw down a run that was more than a half a second faster than anybody else’s in Thursday’s second downhill training in Cortina d’Ampezzo.
Vonn, who says Cortina has “a special place in [her] heart” because it
was here that she landed her first World Cup podium in the downhill in
2004, then went on to podium in both downhill and SG in 2005, SG in
2006, won the downhill in 2008 and was second last year, finished in 1
minute, 38.98 seconds.
“I definitely tightened the screws today a lot more than yesterday [she
was eighth in the first training] but I think I stil have one or two
more gears left,” Vonn said. “It was a solid run. I made some mistakes
on the top but I like the way I skied in the middle. I’m really happy
with the run today.”
Anja Paerson, who was one of many racers to miss gates in her run, had the second fastest time in 1:39.55, followed by Nadia Fanchini in 1:39.97. Leanne Smith, wearing bib No. 38, blew into fifth place and Julia Mancuso, who was fastest in Wednesday’s training despite missing a gate and who had to wait until about racer No. 50 to start due to a course hold Thursday, was ninth. (Watch Mancuso describe the Cortina course on our media page).
Vonn said that while she cranked up her effort another notch for the second day of training, it was not her goal to put the fastest time down.
“I wasn’t really expecting to be fast today,” she said. “I was trying to ski more cleanly, more aggressively. I didn’t say to myself, ‘I want to be ahead by this much.’ I just said I want to have a good run. I’m thankful that it went well. I hope I can keep it going for the race on Saturday.”
“I’m confident in what I’m doing,” Vonn continued. “Some people yesterday were like, ‘Oh, she’s not in top form,’ but I normally don’t push myself too hard in the training runs. I have to leave a little bit for the races, and I definitely have more to give so hopefully this weekend is another good one for me.”
Stacey Cook, who has also found success on the Cortina hill with a 15th place in the DH her first World Cup season in 2006, then 19th in 2007 and a 13th and 14th back-to-back in super Gs in 2008, was 13th in Thursday’s training.
“I feel pretty good. I didn’t think it was perfect enough to be a fast race run, so I definitely have things to work on,” Cook said, adding that her approach to training runs is to give it her all. “I like to go into the race run feeling confident,” she said. “I don’t like to leave a lot out of the training run because I want to know on race day that I can do it. I don’t hold back. I’m not standing up before the finish or anything like that. But you’re not going to figure out the whole course on two runs. So there’s still things to work on … I try to keep improving every run.”
Cook said the course was in great condition – even the second big jump that racers said had a rough, flat landing on Wednesday had been shaved down with a smoother runout.
“It’s really smooth,” Cook said. “The top’s pretty bumpy, then you come off some injection into the Cortina snow that we’re used to. It’s so smooth and grippy you can really do whatever you want on it. You can choose your line instead of the line the group’s taking. It’s a little bit of freedom on the mountain.”
Canadian racer Marie-Pier Prefontaine didn’t start in Thursday’s training, having suffered a concussion in a crash on Wednesday near the finish line. The Canadian Team will wait and see if M-P, who is more a tech than a speed skier, will start in Sunday’s giant slalom. Italian racer Elena Fanchini had a similar crash over the last jump on the course Thursday, rolling right through the finish line banner but standing up and appearing to be OK. Maria Riesch also had an unlucky training run, hitting a rock on the course and finishing at the back of the pack.
Racing in Cortina begins Friday with super G, followed by downhill Saturday and GS Sunday.
- by Shauna Farnell
Photo by GEPA
OFFICIAL RESULTS – SECOND TRAINING
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time|
|21||48||425880||SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth||1991||NOR||1:41.21|
|26||9||495318||RUIZ CASTILLO Carolina||1981||SPA||1:41.52|
|51||52||35089||SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena||1984||ARG||1:46.02|
|52||54||35079||SIMARI BIRKNER Maria Belen||1982||ARG||1:47.38|
|Did not start 1st run|