It’s fair to say there was room for improvement for the U.S. women’s speed team after the first day of racing Friday in Lake Louise. The good news is they got another crack at the downhill course today and results were better.
Lindsey Vonn enjoyed the most dramatic improvement from one day to the next. The 14-time winner at the venue finished 11th on Saturday, a far cry from her 40th-place result on Friday.
“It’s a great step,” said Vonn. “I was much more aggressive today, much more self-confident. I still made a couple mistakes but in general I’m happy with this race today. It gives me a lot more confidence going into tomorrow.”
As she often is in “Lake Lindsey,” Vonn was fast up top, fast on the bottom. She had one very dicey moment going through Fishnet, where she got thrown in the back seat, but recovered well without losing the line.
After the race, Vonn told reporters she may not be racing a full schedule this season: “My goal is still to be as prepared as possible for Sochi. I’m going to look at the schedule again after this weekend. I kind of have a better understanding of where I am physically and make the call as to how many races I’m going to do going into Sochi. I’m still trying to save my knee the best I can.”
Maria Hoefl-Riesch earned her second win in as many days. The German looked dialed in from top to bottom and was able to accelerate through the finish, as is often the case for the winner of the Lake Louise downhill.
Tina Weirather, who is apparently faster without her arm guards — she was disqualified Friday for wearing them — stayed aerodynamic throughout the run and earned a second-place result. She held the lead at every split over then-leader Maria Kaufmann-Abderhalden, who ultimately fell back to fourth. Austria’s Anna Fenninger picked up another podium result with her typical smooth, solid skiing.
Fishnet was giving many of the girls trouble in this second of two downhills. Conditions were bumpier than they normally are for a women’s race in Lake Louise. Leanne Smith and Laurenne Ross each had a tough time with the left-footer. Smith was having a decent run prior to getting chucked around and wasn’t able to carry speed through the bottom, while Ross’s line was low and she did some powder skiing, which is not too fast. They finished 17th and 50th respectively, an improvement certainly for Smith.
For Stacey Cook, who last season cracked the Lake Louise podium twice, it was also a better day that the previous. At times, she was pressuring below the gate, but it was good enough for a dramatic improvement, from 39th Friday to 11th Saturday.
“I took a lot of the same approach. I just tried to really get in that forward position and really attack the course,” said Cook. “I had a bad day yesterday, not a great weekend last weekend. I think the maturity really helps me to put days behind me and know what makes me fast and keep bringing it day to day.”
Even Julia Mancuso seemed to regain some form on the top part of the course, but she appeared fatigued toward the bottom and lost time on the lower gliding section to finish 21st on the day.
“I thought my time would be faster again, but the skiing is good and I’m sure it will come,” Mancuso said. “I think the humidity is really what got us yesterday, having the snow guns on.”
After a seventh-place result Friday, unsupported Canadian skier Larisa Yurkriw scored World Cup points for the second day in a row; she was 26th.
“It’s easier now than ever to understand what I’m doing and that this is a little bigger than me,” Yurkiw said Friday. “This journey has only made me feel more empowered, as a stronger person. So skiing a race is just part of this whole process.”
Julia Ford, who had a career-best result Friday, dropped back to 46th in her second effort. And for the second day in a row, Jackie Wiles just barely missed out on World Cup points, finishing 31st.
By Hank McKee
Women’s World Cup downhill, Lake Louise, Canada, Dec. 7, 2013
Equipment - Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Hoefl-Riesch, Head/Lange/Head
2 Weirather, Atomic/Tecnica/Atomic
3 Fenninger, Head/Head/Head
4 Kaufmann-Abderhalden, Head/Nordica/Head
5 Fanchini, Dynastar/Lange/Look
6 Maze, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
7 Huetter, Voelkl/Tecnica/Marker
8 Kling, Head/Head/Head
9 Gisin, Dynastar/Lange/Marker
10 Goergl, Head/Head/Head
Women’s World Cup downhill, Lake Louise, Canada, Dec. 7, 2013. … It is the seventh of 32 races on the women’s 2013-14 World Cup schedule. … It is the third of nine scheduled downhills. … It is the 57th World Cup downhill held at Lake Louise and the second for women this season. … Lake Louise is the only site scheduled for back-to-back downhills. …
It is the 26th career World Cup victory for Maria Hoefl-Riesch. … Her tenth in DH and second in DH at Lake Louise in two days. … She is second on the German all-time win list behind Katja Seizinger’s 36 wins, and second behind Seizinger’s 16 downhill wins as well.
It is the tenth career World Cup podium for Tina Weirather. … her sixth in DH. … And her third in DH at Lake Louise.
It is the 19th career World Cup podium for Anna Fenninger, her second of the season. … It is her third World Cup podium at Lake Louise. … her first at the site in DH.
It is the best result of the season for Lindsey Vonn. … She had finished first in her last seven races at Lake Louise until this year. … It is the eighth best Lake Louise result of Stacey Cook’s career. … Leannne Smith matches her fourth best career Lake Louise finish. … Julia Mancuso matches her 20th best Lake Louise result. … It is the ninth best career World Cup result for Larisa Yurkiw and her third score of the season.
Hoefl-Riesch take over control of the World Cup Overall standings 393-346 over Lara Gut (13th in race). … Fenninger is third with 295pts. … Mikaela Shiffrin (did not race) is the top U.S. skier in fifth with 220pts. … Michele-Marie Gagnon (did not race) is the top Canadian in 15th with 91pts. … Hoefl-Riesch leads the downhill standings 236-165 over Elena Fanchini (fifth in race). … Tina Weirather is third with 160pts. … Yurkiw is the top Canadian in 17th with 41pts. … Stacey Cook is the top U.S. skier in 23rd with 40pts. …
Austria leads the women’s Nations Cup 1048-860 over Switzerland. … Germany is third with 645pt. … The U.S. is sixth with 354pts and Canada 10th with 216pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||FIS Points|
|27||14||495318||RUIZ CASTILLO Carolina||1981||SPA||1:57.14||24.40|
|40||24||425880||SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth||1991||NOR||1:58.08||35.59|
|49||47||298084||AGERER Lisa Magdalena||1991||ITA||1:58.77||43.81|
|Did not finish 1st run|