Riesch captures back-to-back downhills

Sat Dec 4, 2010 5:09pm EST
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By Patrick Lang

LAKE LOUISE, Alberta (Reuters) - Germany's Maria Riesch captured her second World Cup downhill in as many days on Saturday and again forced Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn to settle for second place.

In one minute 29.60 seconds, Riesch added a sixth victory in the discipline to her World Cup record and can now set her sights on compatriot Katja Seizinger's feat, who won all three races on the weekend menu in the Canadian resort 13 years ago.

"We all skied to the limit and it was down to the one making the fewer mistakes," said Riesch, now a comfortable leader in the World Cup standings, 189 points ahead of Vonn.

And that is precisely what the slalom world and Olympic champion did, keeping a clean line from start to finish while rival Vonn and Austrian Olympic bronze medallist Elisabeth Goergl were too aggressive and nearly crashed.

Vonn narrowly avoided disaster, her hip touching the snow at the end of a wide turn, but managed to finish 0.10 seconds behind Riesch.

"To finish second in these conditions is more than I could hope for. When I reached the finish area I thought I'd be 10th at best," said Vonn. "To stay in the race was a matter of power, coordination and control and it is satisfactory in spite of the defeat."

The American had bagged the five previous downhills held on the Olympic Run and won at least one every winter since 2004. She must now look to Sunday's Super-G for her revenge.

While Goergl had to settle for fifth place after her spectacular near-crash, the last podium spot went to Swiss Dominique Gisin, who had clocked some of the best times in practice.

(Reporting by Patrick Lang; Editing by Frank Pingue)

<p>Germany's Maria Riesch celebrates her first place finish during alpine skiing at the Women's World Cup Downhill in Lake Louise, Alberta December 3, 2010. REUTERS/Andy Clark</p>