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Lindsey Vonn wins sixth downhill title

Despite being absent through injury, American skier Lindsey Vonn pips Tina Maze to the downhill title by one point.
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2013 16:08
Vonn's (C) previous wins and poor weather were enough to gain victory over Tina Maze (L) [AP]

Lindsey Vonn won her sixth straight World Cup downhill title after thick fog forced the final race to be cancelled on Wednesday.

Five weeks after her season was ended by a serious knee injury, Vonn retained her title by beating Tina Maze of Slovenia by one point.

Fog hung on the lower slopes all day and earlier forced the International Ski Federation to cancel the men's downhill. The women's race was canceled at 2:30 p.m. (1330 GMT), three hours after its scheduled start.

Maze has dominated the season but lost a historic chance at sweeping the World Cup titles. Maze needed to only finish in the top 14 to top the downhill standings.

In a strange twist, Vonn was denied a fourth straight overall title in 2011 by the weather in Lenzerheide.

Then, the season-ending giant slalom was cancelled and Vonn lost by three points to her good friend Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany. 

The fickle Lenzerheide weather, where fog sits in a small section of the Alpine valley, certainly repaid Vonn an overdue favour.

Her lone trophy from arguably her most difficult season is a World Cup record 17th crystal globe, overtaking Austrian great Annemarie Moser-Proell. 

The 28-year-old American has won four overall titles and 13 in individual disciplines.

Vonn raced in only five of the seven downhills, winning twice at Lake Louise, Alberta, and getting a third victory at Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, in January.

Recovery 

After her February 5 crash in the world championships super-G race in Schladming, Austria, Vonn was stuck on 340 downhill points and left the door open to Maze.

The 29-year-old Slovene then finished fourth in Meribel, France, and won her second career World Cup downhill in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, to close within a point.

Vonn got a huge assist from unheralded Spanish racer Carolina Ruiz Castillo, whose surprise victory in Meribel with a late starting number pushed Maze down one place and cost her 10 World Cup points.

Vonn has been rehabilitating her injured right knee in the United States. 

She tore her anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments and broke a bone in her lower leg when her right ski stuck in softer snow on landing a jump.

That medal race was also delayed by fog and eventually started at the unusually late time of 2:30 p.m.

Her injury stalled the pursuit of Moser-Proell's record of 62 career World Cup race wins.

Vonn reached 59 this season and, injury-free, could reasonably have expected to be within reach of the all-time mark this week.

 

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Source:
AP
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