LAKE LOUISE, Alberta – Don’t let the results from the final downhill training run mislead you. Lindsey Vonn still appears to be the fastest woman in Lake Louise heading into the opening downhill race of the season for the ladies.
Vonn had no trouble over the terrain that caught her off guard just one day earlier, and she would have handily cruised to the fastest time of the day (with the lead through the final two splits on course) had she not stood up tall down Easy Street and taken a body full of air through the final gates on course, a common tactic for some in training runs. Austrian Mirjam Puchner, who stood up tall only to cross the finish line, outpaced Vonn’s overall time by a slim 0.12 seconds. Stacey Cook moved up to a commendable third on the day, 0.39 seconds in touch of Puchner.
“I just had a different approach today. I changed some things in my line that yesterday didn’t really pan out for me. But I was happy with my skiing. I definitely can clean up a few sections for tomorrow but in general it was a pretty solid run and I’m just looking forward to my first speed race of the season,” said Vonn. “It’s the first speed race of the year so I feel like I’m coming here always with a lot of confidence. I’ve had a lot of success here too so that certainly helps. I just love this hill, it really suits me, it suits my style and I know I can win.”
Even Vonn’s own teammate Cook commented favorably on the speed queen’s second training run.
“It’s different than the classic downhill that normally is here, so I have to make the adjustments. And that in itself is a challenge and keeps it entertaining because we’ve run this so many times that the old course we could go with our eyes closed but now we have to focus a little bit more. Lindsey skied that terrain really well today, so obviously it hasn’t changed that much. She’s still unbeatable here,” noted Cook who shared the podium last season with Vonn in the historic U.S. Ski Team sweep.
The Austrian team once again had a solid day, led by Puchner and followed by Nicole Schmidhofer in fifth and Wednesday’s fastest skier Conny Huetter sixth.
“It was a super training run,” Puchner, younger sister of the injured Joachim Puchner, said. “I will for sure try to give it all out in tomorrow’s race again but without expecting too much and then we’ll see what happens.”
Daniela Merighetti, who was injured in Wednesday’s training run, pulled out of the series and will return home to Italy early. She received eight stitches for a cut from her ski edge and is hopeful to return to competition in Val d’Isere.
The first of two downhill races for the ladies at Lake Louise kicks off on Friday at 12:45 p.m. local time.
|14||25||425880||SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth||1991||NOR||1:54.12||+1.64|
|48||44||206548||MAGG Ann Katrin||1994||GER||1:56.49||+4.01|
|53||56||465098||CAILL Ania Monica||1995||ROU||1:58.76||+6.28|
|Did not start 1st run|