VAL D’ISERE, France – Lindsey Vonn, who’s already proven she can win in three disciplines so far this season, will try her hand at a fourth in tomorrow’s alpine combined at the picturesque French resort of Val d’Isere. Under crystal blue skies on Thursday, she skied a smooth and speedy line down the Oreiller Killy to lay down the fastest final training run heading into the next two days of races on the track.
Up first, the combined, in which Vonn admits she’s going to have to wing the slalom leg.
“I’ve had about two days of slalom (training). So yeah, I feel like slalom, I just have to wing it. And I feel good, like I’ve been saying the last couple days. I feel really balanced on my skis,” said Vonn. “I’ll definitely have to ski very fast in downhill and then hopefully just have a solid slalom run. But I think it’ll be good practice for me going into Saturday’s downhill.”
With a downhill training run 0.32 seconds faster than Lara Gut of Switzerland even after standing up through the last gates on course and 3.56 seconds ahead of the skier who she considers her tightest competition in the combined, slalom ace Michaela Kirchgasser of Austria, Vonn might just be able to set herself up well enough in the downhill portion of the race to punch her ticket for another trip to the top of the podium. Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein finished third, 0.89 seconds back, in the final of two training runs.
“I’d like a 2.5-second margin over Kirchgasser. That would be great. I don’t know if I’ll get it, but I am going to try,” Vonn said of the lead she hopes to have heading into tomorrow’s slalom. With other athletes scurrying off to squeeze in last-minute training on Thursday afternoon, would Vonn strap on the short skis for a few runs?
“Oh, no. No. When I said ‘I’m winging the slalom,’ I am literally winging it.”
American Alice McKennis clocked in 1.71 seconds off Vonn’s pace for 10th and Laurenne Ross, despite crashing in the finish area with no visible injury, tied with Corinne Suter of Switzerland for 12th. Teammate Jackie Wiles was 2.73 seconds out in 26th.
Stacey Cook unexpectedly caught an edge and some air before sliding off course, getting swallowed up in the gap between the slip skirt and A net like the victim of a ravenous Venus flytrap. She has struggled here before, logging her best finish at the venue with a 10th-place result in last year’s downhill.
“I caught air in a place I wasn’t expecting. I was trying to be a little more aggressive today and hit it at the wrong angle, I guess, and just kind of launched into the fence,” said Cook. “The fence came up quick. I thought I had it, in my mind, but then I didn’t have it anymore.”
After being extracted from the nets by course workers, Cook was able to ski down under her own power and is ready for another shot at the track.
“It was in a pretty easy section of the course, so it’s not like I’m intimidated by that section. Lindsey said there was a little but of a dish that was forming, so I’ll have a look at that in inspection and I think that’s an easy fix,” she reasoned.
The ladies will start with downhill on Friday morning at 10:30 a.m. CET and ski an afternoon run of slalom at 1:45 p.m. CET.
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|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||Diff.|
|21||29||425880||SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth||1991||NOR||1:46.88||+2.56|
|58||64||465098||CAILL Ania Monica||1995||ROU||1:52.63||+8.31|
|60||51||206548||MAGG Ann Katrin||1994||GER||20:13.93||+18:29.61|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not finish 1st run|