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Smooth Vonn stretches lead in World Cup

LINDSEY Vonn of the United States won her first super-G race in two years with a dominant performance on a demanding course yesterday in Garmisch-Paternkirchen, Germany, to extend her overall World Cup lead.

The win was a major boost two days before another super-G kicks off the World Championships in Val d'Isere, France, but Vonn said she did not consider herself a favorite for the gold medal in the event.

"It's an amazing day. I am in good form and I have a lot of self-confidence," said Vonn, who also won Friday's slalom. "But I don't consider myself a great favorite for the super-G in Val d'Isere. The downhill and the super-combi are my goals.

"These two wins here meant a lot to me," she said.

Vonn, who earned her fifth win of the season, also tied Tamara McKinney's American women's record of 18 career victories.

"I feel very honored to be on the same level with Tamara," she said,

The American tamed the demanding redesigned Kandahar course in 1 minute, 22.16 seconds, beating Anja Paerson of Sweden by .39 seconds. Another Swede, Jessica Lindell-Vikarby, who won the previous super-G in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, was .72 back in third place.

"It was a very difficult course today. It was icy and bumpy," Vonn said. "I am incredibly happy."

Vonn also became the first winner on the new course, rebuilt for the 2011 World Championships. The women's race was originally slated for Saturday but had to be postponed because of fog. A men's downhill, also scheduled for Saturday, was also called off.

With the super-G victory, Vonn has now won in all disciplines this season except the giant slalom.

By collecting a maximum 100 points from each of her last two races, Vonn now has 1,114 points in her bid to win the overall World Cup title for the second straight season. Maria Riesch of Germany, who finished fifth in her hometown race, remains second, 179 points behind.

"Lindsey will win the overall title and she's deserved it," Riesch said. "She is the best."

Vonn thought it was still premature to talk about the overall title.

"There are a lot of races left and Maria will remain my toughest challenger," she said.

Nadia Fanchini of Italy finished fourth to remain ahead in the super-G standings.

Also, Manfred Moelgg and Giorgio Rocca gave Italy a 1-2 finish in a men's World Cup slalom in Germany yesterday afternoon.

Moelgg, the defending World Cup slalom champion, rallied to win the last race before the World Championships start tomorrow in France.

The two Italians trailed Reinfried Herbst after the first run but moved past the Austrian with fast second heats. Herbst settled for third.

Moelgg won by a hefty margin in a combined time of 1 minute, 46.77 seconds on the sunny Gudiberg slope. Rocca took second in 1:47.06 and Herbst finished in 1:47.37. Herbst had won the previous slalom race last week in Schladming, Austria.


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