LAKE LOUISE, Alberta (Reuters) - There is still a long way to go before the alpine skiing World Cup finals in March, but if the first women’s downhill on Friday was any indication, it might well be Maria Riesch’s season at last.
American Lindsey Vonn was unbeaten in a downhill at Lake Louise since 2007 and she also won the three overall crystal globes on offer since then.
But Riesch, her main World Cup rival and best friend, stopped Vonn’s winning streak in the Canadian resort and can now look for even better things at the end of the season.
In one minute and 28.96 seconds, the German ended the downhill world and Olympic champion’s reign on her favorite piste to snatch her 15th World Cup victory and second on the Olympic Run.
“Everything went well today, and to win here after four years when it was impossible to beat Lindsey is of course special,” said Riesch.
Little mistakes at the top, and especially on the jump at Coaches Corner, cost the American the 0.12 seconds that made the difference.
“In spite of everything I was relaxed, determined to win,” said Vonn. “I‘m disappointed but the main thing was to be on the podium and to try to win tomorrow.”
The season climaxes with the world championships in Riesch’s natal town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and she will be getting married immediately after.
Taking the overall World Cup away from Vonn would be an ideal wedding present.
“This is a very important victory. To win on Lindsey’s turf is highly significant and it’s also crucial for confidence to win a downhill early in the season,” said Riesch.
Behind the two leading figures of women’s skiing, third place went to Olympic bronze medalist Elisabeth Goergl of Austria in 1:29.17. American Julia Mancuso finished fourth.
Riesch leads the overall World Cup standings with 334 points, comfortably above Finland’s technical specialist Tanja Poutiainen, who is in second with 196 points.
Vonn is sixth with 165 points.
Editing by Frank Pingue; To query or comment on this story email email@example.com