Road To The Olympic Games

Lindsey Vonn wins women's super-G

American Lindsey Vonn won the women's World Cup super-G race at Lake Louise, Alta., Sunday with a time of one minute and 20.72 seconds.

Lindsey Vonn wasn't leaving Lake Louise, Alta., without a win.

After finishing second in both World Cup downhills to Maria Riesch, Vonn won Sunday's super-G by over three-quarters of a second over her German rival.

Vonn, the defending World Cup champion and reigning Olympic champion in downhill, has won a record seven downhills at Lake Louise, but Sunday's victory was her first in super-G at the resort.

"I wanted to end the weekend with a bang, make a statement and put people's doubts to rest and I think I did that today," Vonn said.

"I always somehow get the win taken away from me here in Lake Louise in super-G. I've always lost by a small margin, so I wanted to make sure there was no room for doubt today. If I can't win the downhill, then it's great I can at least win the super-G."

The American's time was one minute 20.72 seconds on the 1,967-metre course. Riesch, who has taken the early World Cup lead, finished in 1:21.55.

Vonn's American teammate Julia Mancuso was third in 1:21.61. Marie-Michele Gagnon of Lac-Etchemin, Que., was the top Canadian in 27th.

The next stop on the women's World Cup circuit is St. Moritz, Switzerland, for super-G and giant slalom races Saturday and Sunday, followed by a downhill in Val-d'Isere the following week.

Riesch, from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, was attempting to become the first woman to sweep all three races at Lake Louise since her countrywoman Katja Seizinger won both downhills and the super-G in 1997.

But Vonn was highly motivated to prevent the hat trick after losing to Riesch by 0.12 and 0.10 seconds respectively in the downhills Friday and Saturday.

"She was in her own league today and so she deserved the win," Riesch said. "It wasn't a perfect run for me, but I'm really happy with my second place."

Riesch has finished second to Vonn in the overall World Cup race the past two seasons. It's shaping up to be a close race this season between the two, who are close friends as well as rivals.

"Maria is really tough this year," Vonn said. "She's a clear favourite for the overall at this point and I'm just going to do my best to keep up with her."

Britt Janyk of Whistler, B.C., was considered Canada's best medal hope at Lake Louise. She was fourth and 10th in the downhills last year and was third three years ago. But the 30-year-old continued to struggle Sunday and finished 33rd.

"I really don't know what to say," Janyk said as tears welled in her eyes. "It's been a really tough week. It's just frustrating.

"The nice thing is tomorrow I'll be getting on a plane and changing continents and I can really leave this behind and just start from a clean slate next week. There's a lot to learn from. It wasn't the results I wanted. It was tough, but it was the first race of the season and there's still a lot ahead."

The Canadian men were also shut out of the medals making it the first year the host team didn't make the podium at Lake Louise since 2005.

Sunday's race was held in sunny conditions and no wind, yet it was the coldest of the three races with a temperature of minus-16.

Vonn had criticized the course throughout the week for being too icy. It had been injected with water to keep it sound for the men's races the week before.

The 26-year-old from Burnsville, Minn., was more complimentary Sunday even though a dozen women crashed or missed gates.

"There were only a couple of slick gates today and unfortunately quite a few girls went down on the top part, but for the most part, the course was in great shape, really grippy and a lot of fun to ski," Vonn said.

Vonn concentrated on improving her technical races — slalom and giant slalom — over the summer and believed that helped her win Sunday.

"GS is where you get the dynamic skiing where you move from edge to edge and I think it really helps the dynamics of my super-G skiing," she explained. "I think it helps with the quickness and the agility."

Vonn's World Cup victory was the 34th of her career.

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