LAKE LOUISE, Alberta (Reuters) - Beaten by Maria Riesch in the previous two downhills on the same course, Lindsey Vonn struck back to win the Lake Louise World Cup Super-G on Sunday, lifting the gauntlet from the towering German.
Her eighth victory on the Olympic run, in one minute and 20.72 seconds, helped keep her in contention in the overall World Cup standings.
Leaving her rival and friend trailing by 0.83 seconds, the American triple World Cup champion snatched her 34th World Cup win and her 11th in Super-G. She has won a race every year at Lake Louise since 2004.
Vonn told reporters: "I knew I needed a super strong race to catch Maria and I did what I had to do. I really want to win a fourth World Cup and I know it's going to be difficult if she keeps skiing at that level in every discipline.
"But it's a long season and I'm sure I'm stronger than ever in the technical events even though I have not had a chance to show it yet."
Compatriot Julia Mancuso, spurred by her Olympic medals in Vancouver, confirmed her return to form by finishing third, 0.06 further back.
Thanks to her near-perfect performance, Vonn stopped her friend Riesch from emulating fellow-German Katja Seizinger, the only skier to have won all three races on the Lake Louise weekend, back in 1997.
Riesch said: "I knew it would be difficult but I'm glad because it was one of my goals in training to be back at my best level in the Super-G, which used to be one of my best events.
"Now I know I can ski well in all four disciplines. It's a great confidence boost."
In the overall World Cup standings, Riesch will take a 169 points lead over Vonn back to Europe, the next women's races taking place in St Moritz, Switzerland.
Slovenia's Marusa Ferk crashed badly, ended up in the safety nets and had to be carried away on a stretcher. The extent of her injuries was not immediately known.
Editing by Dave Thompson