Alpine skiing-Riesch avenges world championship woes

Reuters

Fri, 25 Feb 17:59:00 2011

* Riesch wins Are super-combined

* German increases World Cup lead to 216 points

* Vonn encouraged by Super-G performance (adds Vonn quotes)

Maria Riesch avenged her world championship woes with her fifth victory of the season in a super-combined on Friday to increase her World Cup lead over arch-rival Lindsey Vonn to 216 points.

Both women were in much better form than at this month's world championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen from which the German, hampered by flu, only returned with two bronze medals while the American had to settle for a silver.

Riesch was second behind her American friend and rival in the morning Super-G while a consistent slalom run handed her victory in a combined time of one minute and 59.60 seconds with Vonn having to settle for sixth place.

"I'm very happy with myself today because it was a long time since I last won a super-combined. But also my good Super-G run showed me I was heading in the right direction and hopefully set the tone for the weekend," she said.

Riesch added that racing from the front since the start of the season had weighed on her nerves and energy levels.

"I must admit that my immune system is not at its best especially with the constant changes of temperatures we have been experiencing this winter," she told reporters.

HEALTHY ENOUGH

But the German was still healty enough to beat giant slalom world champion Tina Maze of Slovenia, second in exactly two minutes, and downhill and Super-G world queen Elisabeth Goergl who was third, a further 0.26 seconds behind.

By contrast, the discipline's new world champion Anna Fenninger struggled on a slalom course which did not suit her aggressive style and the Austrian had to settle for ninth place.

Local favourite Anja Paerson only missed the podium by 0.02 seconds.

Another Super-G and a downhill are on the weekend menu in the Swedish resort and they should normally favour Vonn.

The American three-times World Cup winner was relieved because her Super-G performance showed she was almost back to her very best in the speed events.

"My Super-G was really encouraging but I'm pretty frustrated with my slalom," said Vonn. "I've been training really well in slalom but haven't been able to put it together in a race.

"I had a hard time with the groove and lost my balance on a rut about 10 gates in and never really got my rhythm back."

"The super G was solid, aggressive and just like I know I can ski. I was driving my skis the whole way down and definitely feeling back to my normal self."

"It's going to be a battle for the overall title until the last race of season. I've still got a lot of fighting to do."

Riesch added: "There are still lots of points to fight for and we're both going to claim our share. But I'm going to fight for every one."

 

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