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Vonn on track for overall title

WORLD Cup leader Lindsey Vonn took a big step toward retaining her overall title with victory in a super-G in Bansko, Bulgaria, yesterday.

The American, who is also the discipline's world champion, finished 12th in Saturday's downhill but she set the record straight with a time of one minute and 14.49 seconds for her seventh win of the season and 20th in her career.

"The last month was full of emotions with my world titles and my injury. I probably paid the emotional price yesterday. That's why I'm especially proud about this, to have been able to pull myself together and win," Vonn told reporters after her fourth successive super-G victory.

Hampered by a thumb injury since the world championships and by a crash in practice, Vonn left in-form Fabienne Suter 0.58 behind. Slovenia's Tina Maze took third place.

It was Suter's third podium in three days, after winning Friday's downhill and finishing third on Saturday. The Swiss also took the lead in the super-G World Cup standings, 15 points ahead of Vonn.

"This weekend has been fantastic. I'm in another league now. I hope to keep my super-G (World Cup leader's) red bib but Lindsey showed she is highly motivated," Suter said.

With two races next week and then the season-ending World Cup finals in Are, Vonn leads the overall standings on 1,556 points with Germany's Maria Riesch, joint fifth yesterday, her only serious rival on 1,165.

Riesch will need to make the best of this weekend's giant slalom and slalom at home in Ofterschwang if she is to make up some of the gap on her friend and rival.

Vonn will spend the week in Riesch's home in Garmisch-Partenkirchen preparing for the races.

In Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, Julien Lizeroux of France won a men's World Cup slalom yesterday for his second victory of the season, and Ivica Kostelic of Croatia finished 11th and stayed the overall leader.

Lizeroux, who had his maiden win in Kitzbuehel, Austria, in January, finished in a combined time of 1:40.11 to beat Giuliano Razzoli, who led after the opening run, by 0.34 seconds. Felix Neureuther of Germany was 0.56 back in third.

"Getting my first win was great, but to get another one so soon makes it an unbelievable season for me," said Lizeroux, who won silver in slalom at the world championships in his native Val d'Isere last month.

Kostelic leads the overall standings with 837 points. Benjamin Raich of Austria, who was fourth, trails the Croat by only two points.

This weekend's program in Kvitfjell, Norway, of a downhill and a super-G will favor speed specialists like Swiss Didier Cuche and local hope Aksel Lund Svindal.


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