Hoefl-Riesch wins consecutive downhills
December 9, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
LAKE LOUISE, Canada -- Lindsey Vonn continued her comeback from a knee injury with an improved performance in Saturday's Lake Louise downhill which was won by Maria Hoefl-Riesch.
Germany's Hoefl-Riesch captured her second World Cup downhill in as many days and will go for her third victory in a row in Sunday's Super G.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Hoefl-Riesch clocked a time of one minute, 55.09 seconds to finish 0.34 seconds ahead of runner-up Tina Weirather, of Liechtenstein, and Austrian Anna Fenninger who placed third in 1:55.56.
Vonn skied more aggressively Saturday, crossing the finish line in 1:56.35 but she was still 1.26 seconds adrift of Hoefl-Riesch.
“Today's performance is a great step forward,” said American Vonn, who finished 11th.
“I could be much more aggressive on the course. I still made a couple of mistakes but I'm really happy with the run I put together today.
“It gives me confidence for sure to bring into tomorrow's race.”
Vonn's 11th-place finish was a big improvement over her 40th-place showing Friday in her first race in 10 months after tearing ligaments in her right knee at the February World Championships in Austria.
Vonn said she is going to sit down next week and put together a plan to be in the best shape she can for the Sochi Winter Games in February.
“My goal is definitely still to be as prepared as possible for Sochi so I'm going to look again at the schedule after this weekend,” Vonn said. “I don't know if that means I'll race some races or no races or all of the races. I really don't know what that means yet.
“My focus is Sochi and however I can come into those Olympics the most prepared is what I'm going to do.”
Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden, of Switzerland, finished fourth while Italy's Elena Fanchini rounded out the top five.
This is just the second time Hoefl-Riesch has won two downhills in a row after 2010 and it marks her fifth career World Cup downhill win in Lake Louise.
“The slope was faster today but my run wasn't as clean as yesterday,” she said.
“I lost a little bit of time in the middle section, but my performance today was still good enough for the win, so I am really satisfied.”
The 29-year-old Hoefl-Riesch won gold medals in the super combined and slalom at the 2010 Vancouver Games and won the World Cup overall title in 2011.
She battled through bone-chilling conditions to win Friday's downhill, snapping Vonn's seven-race win streak at Lake Louise.