Lindsey Vonn captured her second discipline World Cup title this season at Crans-Montana after the cancellation of the Super-combined event planned for Friday. Strong gusts of wind in the upper part of the demanding Swiss slope prevented the downhill to start in the morning and the early afternoon. After a series of postponement, the race jury decided to definitively cancel the event later on in the afternoon.
Vonn, in the lead of the Super-combined standings since her impressive victory at Val d’Isère in December is now assured to collect the discipline crystal globe next week at Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It’s her fifth discipline World Cup title after those gained in past seasons and this winter in downhill and Super-G. She aims to get another one soon in downhill.
A strong winner here two years ago in downhill, Lindsey is now ready to fight as hard as usual on the ‘Piste Nationale’ this weekend to capture her third consecutive downhill title a week prior the Finals at Garmisch-Partenkirchen – on her way to her eventual third Overall crystal globe.
Her strong lead of 129 points on Maria Riesch in the downhill rankings with two more races on the schedule – Crans-Montana and Garmisch-Partenkirchen – should allow her to reach that goal in the Swiss resort. Her 3rd time in the last training run confirmed her determination and her good form despite a busy schedule in the days after the end of the Olympics.
In the Overall, the American leads with an advance of 135 points on the Bavarian.
After participating at the closing ceremony on Sunday evening at Vancouver, Lindsey flew to California with a private jet to take part in a series of talk-shows including the famous ‘Jay Leno Late Night Show’ on NBC where she received a warm welcome from the crowd.
After another private flight over the Atlantic, she arrived in the last moment in Crans-Montana just in time to attend the training – not an easy task even for her. “It’s pretty tough, yet it’s nice to be back here on a nice course and get some speed under my skis,” she said afterwards. “It will not be easy to excel here after going through so many emotions in Canada,” the skier from Vail added.
A successful medalist in the speed events, Vonn was not as lucky in the other Olympic competitions, especially during the last week. She straddled a gate in the combined slalom on her way to another podium and crashed badly at the end of her first giant slalom run after clocking the fastest intermediate time. She broke her right littler finger during that fall while hitting a gate.
In the slalom, she hooked again a gate in the upper part of her first run – ending her Olympics on a more disappointing note than expected while her good friend Maria Riesch captured her second gold medal.
A true sports professional, Lindsey Vonn didn’t need much time to switch again her mind on race-mode and get ready for the final episode of the present World Cup season. “I still have some unachieved business to finish and I’m ready to give my best at Crans-Montana and Garmisch-Partenkirchen,” she explained to the press earlier this week.
“I’m perfectly happy with my performances at Whistler and my two medals,” she told Jay Leno earlier this week. “I have been dreaming most of my career getting that Olympic gold medal which means so much to me,” she added. “It has been very moving for me to win that downhill, I could not control my emotions after the race and kept on sobbing.”
In the coming days, Lindsey will also have good opportunities to set a new US victory record on the World Cup tour. Super-combined Olympic champion Bode Miller has won 32 World Cup events so far – one more than Vonn until now.
With a third Overall World Cup title – another good possibility as she has 135 points more than Maria Riesch in the general classification – she would do as well as Phil Mahre, a triple winner from 1981 to 1983.
On the challenging ‘Piste Nationale’ course, another flawless run is expected from Lindsey Vonn forcing once more her main rivals may need to take great risks to beat her. This season, Lindsey dominated all her downhill races races except the one at St Moritz where she finished 5th after a major mistake in the middle of her run.
"Obviously this isn't the way I wanted to win the (Super-combined) title, but I will take it none the less," Vonn wrote on her Facebook fan page. "It's an outdoor sport and anything can happen. Sometimes these decisions go your way like in this case, and sometimes they don't – it's just part of our sport. Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow for the DH."