American ski racer Julia Mancuso reclaimed the Aspen World Cup podium for the home team today (Nov. 26) after a seven-year U.S. absence. The California native finished third behind winner Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany.
Rebensburg, fifth after the first run, built speed all the way down the 46-gate course to take her fourth career World cup victory with a .33-second advantage on Austrian first-run leader Elisabeth Goergl in second place.
“I made a huge mistake in the first run, so I was kind of angry at myself,” said Rebensburg after the race. “I tried to stay calm and focus for the second run. If I could put everything together, maybe it could work for a win. It worked, I’m so happy for that.”
Manucso, fourth after the first run, told reporters she was headed into the second run with room to improve and more speed to find. She went for a wild ride and held on to enough speed to secure her 26th career World Cup podium. Mancuso finished 10th in the first race of the season, also a GS, in Soelden, Austria in late October, then came home for an extended training block in Vail with goals of dialing in her equipment and technical skiing.
“I think I skied better the first run, I made some mistakes second run but it was a really tough course and you never really know what the other skiers are going to do or what mistakes they’re going to make,” said Mancuso, who hasn’t landed a World Cup GS podium since 2007. “I’m just really psyched; my GS has been training really well. I haven’t been on the podium for GS in a long time so it feels really good to be right in there. I’m hoping to keep that going for the rest of the season.”
An American racer hadn’t topped the Aspen podium since Kristina Koznick finished third in a slalom in 2004.
“It’s exciting, everyone always talks about curses and statistics and of course as athletes we’re just up there trying to ski fast and hope you make the podium or the win,” said Mancuso of her record performance. “I have a whole support crew from Squaw Valley also here, actually a lot of my family’s here because they came for Thanksgiving, they’ve skipped on a couple years so it’s nice that I could get on the podium and give them a good show.”
Mancuso’s result marked only the second GS podium of all-time for the U.S. women in Aspen, the last was a win my Tamara McKinney in 1981. McKinney, who, like Mancuso is from Squaw Valley, Calif., was in Aspen to see the race today.
Skies were clear all day in Aspen and athletes raved about the grippy surface conditions on what many of them called one of the most challenging GS courses they see all season. After a sunny first run, the athletes were tested by a flat-lit, shady second run course. “It wasn’t perfect but it was challenging,” said Rebensburg. “I like the slope, it’s tough I think it’s the most difficult giant slalom in the World Cup tour.”
Lindsey Vonn, who won the opening GS of the season just more than a month ago, was disappointed in her first run (21st) but fought back in the second run to finish 12th today.
“It felt better,” said Vonn of her second run. “I was definitely more aggressive, felt more like myself but it was just tough with the terrain and flat light, I just kept making mistakes but I did what I could and tried to make up some time. I think I did better but just not quite enough; first run was too far off.”
Vonn was forced to take four days off of training after injuring her back on the Aspen course last Friday, a minor injury she said limited her movement and had her feeling unlike herself on the slope.
Two races into the 2012 season, Rebensburg leads the overall standings with 180 points. Goergl stands second with 140 points, just ahead of Vonn in third with 122 points.
Two more Austrians joined Goergl in the top 10. Anna Fenninger finished fourth and Stefanie Koehle took ninth.
Swiss young gun Lara Gut had two solid runs to finish fifth after claiming the second-fastest first run in the No. 19 bib. “Yay, I can ski GS!” tweeted Gut after the race.
None of the remaining four American starters managed to reach the 30-woman second run. Teenager Mikaela Shiffrin finished 35th in her third World Cup race ahead of teammates Resi Stiegler in 37th and Kiley Staples in 42nd.
Last season’s overall champion, Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Reisch continued to have a rocky start to her season, falling during her second run today after finishing 24th in the Soelden GS.
Several of the World Cup’s top ranked GS racers were taken out by the tough first run course, set by a Swedish coach. Italian Federica Brignone, French Tessa Worley, teammate Anemone Marmottan and American Sarah Schleper all failed to finish the first run along with 14 other women.
Women’s World Cup racing continues in Aspen tomorrow with the first slalom of the season (the original slalom opener scheduled for Levi, Finland, was canceled) . Click here to follow tomorrow’s race on our Live Timing Page. – By Eric Williams with reporting from Susan Theis
Images by Gepa
by Hank McKee
Women’s World Cup GS
Nov. 26, 2011
1 Rebensburg, Nordica/Nordica/Marker
2 Goergl, Head/Head/Head
3 Mancuso, Voelkl/Lange/Marker
4 Fenninger, Head/Head/Head
5 Gut, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
6 Karbon, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
7 Maze, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
8 Duerr, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
9 Koehle, Voelkl/Tecnica/Marker
10 Lindell-Vikarby, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
Women’s World Cup GS, Aspen, Colo., Nov. 26, 2011. … It is the second of 40 races on the women’s 2011-12 World Cup schedule. … The second of nine scheduled giant slaloms. … It is the 67th World Cup race hosted by Aspen. … the 20th GS.
It is the fourth career World Cup victory for Viktoria Rebensburg, all in GS. … It is her first win at Aspen, though she was second last season.
It is the 31st career World Cup podium result for Elisabeth Goergl. … her 14th in GS. … It is her second podium at Aspen, the previous a third in GS Nov. 29, 2008.
It is the 26th career World Cup podium for Julia Mancuso. … her fifth in GS. … and her first at Aspen.
It is the 16th best career Cup GS result for Lindsey Vonn. … her second best (of two) GS results at Aspen.
Rebensburg leads the Overall standings 180-140 over Goergl. … Vonn is third with 122. … Mancuso fifth with 86. … Austria leads the women’s Nations Cup 390-252 over Germany. The US is third with 208. Canada is 11th at 13pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||FIS Points|
|17||37||298084||AGERER Lisa Magdalena||1991||ITA||1:07.25||1:06.14||2:13.39||14.19|
|Disqualified 2nd run|
|Did not start 1st run|
|30||196851||GALLAY BERTRAND Olivia||1989||FRA|
|Did not qualify 1st run|
|52||435210||GASIENICA DANIEL Agnieszka||1987||POL|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|46||425880||SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth||1991||NOR|