After weeks of struggling to find her aggression and confidence and always having to look up at Tina Maze and Anna Fenninger on the podium, Lindsey Vonn finally got the better of the two to take an inspired super G win in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
Vonn was treated to sunny, warm weather that softened the previously icy Kandahar track just to her liking and allowed her to find confidence in her turns. After an impressive streak in January, where Vonn collected her record-breaking 63rd win, she has struggled to get back to that dominating form over the past month. But today she left no doubt on the hill that she is the one to beat when she skis her best.
“Yeah I’m very happy, you know yesterday was a little bit disappointing and I came out today with a good attitude and I just wanted to ski my best and attack and I did that,” said Vonn. “I skied well and I’m really happy with my performance, so it’s a nice day to win.”
Maze laid down what looked to be an unbeatable run on a course set by her coach. A previous tight race was blown wide open when Maze came through the finish with a commanding 0.90-second advantage over then-leader Cornelia Huetter. But Vonn was not about to be denied her sixth win of the season and matched Maze’s clean, precise line, while skiing with more power and aggression in the technically demanding turns to take the lead away from Maze by 0.20 seconds.
But the race was far from over. Vonn had to immediately turn her attention back to the top of the hill to watch Fenninger push out of the start. Fenninger held a brief lead at the second interval but couldn’t match Vonn’s power and was bounced around in sections where the American was clean. Fenninger ultimately crossed the line 0.36 second back.
“I am happy with my podium,” said Fenninger. “It was a fast super-G and that’s maybe not what I am the best at. Overall it’s been a good weekend. Honestly I thought Tina was going to be better than me in the downhill and that I would catch up in the super-G. It turned out to be different.”
In the end, it was a race between the same dominant three yet again. The past three super G races, including World Championships, have all produced some iteration of a Vonn-Maze-Fenninger podium. The three were far and away in a league of their own, with only 0.36 seconds separating them. Huetter in fourth was a distant 1.10 seconds behind.
“Of course it’s a great result but I prefer to win,” Maze admitted. “Lindsey was simply better today and she deserves this win.”
The course set by Maze’s coach was open and fast, much more like a downhill, a tactic many assumed was implemented to keep the Slovene ahead of Fenninger in the overall standings. But it was Vonn who took the most advantage from the set. She immediately took the lead out of the start in the flat, gliding sections where she typically shines and never looked back.
“Yeah I think it was set, probably against Anna (Fenninger),” admitted Vonn. “You know it’s a tough duel for the overall title, so I think that was a wise choice by Tina’s coaches … it really suited me and I liked it.”
The win pushed Vonn back into the lead in the super G standings with only one race remaining — World Cup finals in Meribel, France. Vonn now leads by a mere eight points, 440-432, setting up an exciting end to close out the season.
“It’s going to be a close fight in downhill and super G and I really have to ski my best at the finals in Meribel … hopefully I can get two titles,” said Vonn of her chances.
Maze can also breathe a bit easier for the time being. Her lead in the overall standings was eroding race by race as Fenninger time and time again finished just in front of her. Fenninger has made an impressive push over the last two months of the season with podium results in the last eight World Cup races she has participated in dating back to Jan. 19. But today Maze was able finish just ahead of Fenninger, and she gained an additional 20 points to lead the overall standings by 44 points with six races remaining, including two slaloms (an event in which Fenninger does not participate). Every title across all disciplines is still up for grabs, with less than 50 points separating the top two in each event.
Vonn will hope to add to her impressive collection of hardware with her fifth super G globe, which would tie her with German star Katja Seizinger for the most all-time among women. Her win today pushed her record total to 65 World Cup wins and 23 super G victories, both the most all-time.
“Yeah it’s awesome, it was so hot yesterday … it’s nice, it’s a beautiful day for a ski race and with the music in the finish, it kind of feels like a party,” said Vonn of her day.
The results were mixed for the remaining Americans. Julia Mancuso has been sick all week and after struggling in the downhill yesterday opted for a day off to rest and recover. Stacey Cook was leading through the first two intervals over then-leader Federica Brignone, before losing her line in a delay and missing the next gate. Brignone ultimately ended up sixth on the day for the best super G result of her career. Laurenne Ross was the second best American finishing 14th, in a tight race from fourth place on. Only sixth tenths of a second separated fourth from 15th place, with Ross ending up on the latter end of the hundredths. The remaining Americans, Alice McKennis, Jackie Wiles, Abby Ghent, and Julia Ford finished 32, 34, 38, and 41, respectively.
The women return to action on Friday and Saturday in Are, Sweden, with a giant slalom and slalom before the season comes to a close in Meribel, France, at World Cup finals.
By Hank McKee
1 Vonn, Head/Head/Head
3 Fenninger, Head/Head/Head
7 Goergl, Head/Head/Head
8 Bailot, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
10 Hosp, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
Women’s World Cup super G, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, March 8, 2015:
- It is the 26th of 34 races on the women’s World Cup calendar … the sixth of eight super G’s, with one canceled. … It is 102nd World Cup race held at least in part at Garmisch … the 28th super G. … Anna Fenninger won the last women’s super G held at Garmisch March 3, 2013.
- It is a record-extending 65th career World Cup win for Lindsey Vonn. … Her 23rd in super G leaving her one shy of Hermann Maier’s all-time mark of 24. … It is her fifth World Cup win at Garmisch … and her sixth win of the season. … It is the 283rd U.S. World Cup win. … The winning margin is 0.20 of a second. … Top three finishers are within same second … top 16 within two seconds.
- It is the 79th career World Cup podium placing for Tina Maze … her 17th in super G. … It is her 14th podium of the season and her fourth straight.
- It is the 40th career World Cup podium for Anna Fenninger … her 18th in super G … her 15th of the season and her sixth straight dating back to the GS gold medal at World Championships Feb. 12.
- Maze holds the lead of the World Cup overall standings 1285-1241 over Fenninger. … Vonn moves past Shiffrin into third overall 842-750.
- Vonn leads the super G standings 440-432 over Fenninger with one race remaining. … Maze is third in the SG standings with 330pts.
|26||3||495318||RUIZ CASTILLO Carolina||1981||SPA||1:19.30||+2.65||37.34|
|35||30||196460||JAY MARCHAND-ARVIER Marie||1985||FRA||1:19.70||+3.05||42.97|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not finish 1st run|