Vonn takes St. Moritz super-combined title
Lindsey Vonn won a World Cup super-combined event Friday to extend her lead in the overall standings over second-place Tina Maze.
The American defended her lead from the morning downhill with a solid slalom leg to win in a combined two-run time of two minutes 28.35 seconds. Maze was 0.41 seconds back and third-place Nicole Hosp of Austria trailed Vonn by 0.58.
"It was a really satisfying win," Vonn said. "I was happy with my downhill run but I knew it was going to be tough to hang on."
Vonn earned 100 World Cup points for the victory and now leads Maze by 302.
"It was really important today," Vonn said. "If I were to go out [in slalom], I knew that Tina would be within striking distance so I had to stay on the podium. I tried to ski smart."
Maze said she lost the race by trailing 1.41 behind Vonn in downhill.
"I tried to be fast and be close to Lindsey," the Slovenian said. "I lost too much time. Super-combined is like that, and if you don't do well in one [discipline], you lose."
Marie-Michele Gagnon of Levis, Que., was 22nd in 2:33.45.
Vonn's 48th career World Cup win on a perfect sunny day for racing also got her bid for a third straight season-long super-combined title off to a successful start.
She now has seven victories this season as she seeks to recapture the overall crown.
Vonn held her nerve when Maze and Hosp put down the two fastest slalom runs, after they had placed sixth and seventh, respectively, in the downhill.
"It definitely wasn't pretty skiing, but I made it," Vonn said. "There aren't many parts of slalom I'm good at, but on the flats is one of them."
Elisabeth Goergl of Austria had been second in downhill, 0.61 behind Vonn, but skied out in the slalom.
It proved another disappointing day for defending overall champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch, the Olympic champion in super-combined. The German was third in the morning but made a big mistake midway down the slalom gates and had to hike back up the snow to resume her run.
Hoefl-Riesch was 21st, more than five seconds down, and has yet to win a race this season after denying Vonn a fourth straight overall title last year.
Hosp won the overall crown in 2006-07 before Vonn's winning streak began, but has sustained a series of injuries since. The 28-year-old Austrian got her first podium finish this season, and just her second since March 2009.
American teammates Leanne Smith and Julia Mancuso dropped in the standings after being fourth- and fifth-fastest in downhill. Mancuso, the Olympic silver medallist in super-combined, finished 13th, 3.82 behind Vonn. Smith placed 18th, 4.74 back.
Both were upbeat about their prospects in Saturday's marquee downhill race.
"I tried to push it today to see where I can be perfect for [Saturday]," said Mancuso, who is seventh in the overall standings. "I'm happy with where I am."
The St. Moritz races conclude Sunday with the second of the season's three scheduled super-combined events. It's a makeup for a cancelled race last month at Val d'Isere, France, and comprises super-G and slalom legs.