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Vonn takes downhill crown, Austrian wins

AMERICAN Lindsey Vonn won the World Cup downhill championship yesterday, despite a 12th place finish in Bansko, Bulgaria.

The 24-year-old clinched her second straight title in the discipline ?? the only American to do so since Picabo Street in 1995 and 1996.

Vonn was well down the field yesterday, but her time of 1 minute, 48.00 seconds was enough to win her the title with only one downhill race remaining on the circuit.

"The downhill title is a reflection of the best speed skier throughout the season and Lindsey is definitely the best and she deserves the title," US speed coach Alex Hoedlmoser said.

"Lindsey skis to win every race and she did that today too. This is just such a tough course."

Vonn, recovering from a training fall in Bulgaria and an earlier thumb injury, stayed on course for the main title with a 336-point lead over Germany's Maria Riesch in the overall tally.

Looking unsettled in yesterday's race, Vonn struggled to keep her balance, but ended the day 111 points clear of Dominique Gisin in the downhill standings, making it impossible for the Swiss racer to catch her.

Andrea Fischbacher of Austria won yesterday in 1:45.81 seconds, edging Slovenian Tina Maze, who clocked 1:46.00. Fabienne Suter of Switzerland was third in 1:46.20.

Fischbacher, 23, who was second on the tricky Banderiza course behind Suter in Friday's first downhill, won her second World Cup victory.

Also yesterday, American Ted Ligety kept his giant slalom crown in Kranjska Gora with victory at the Slovenian resort for the second year in succession.

The super-combined Olympic champion, starved of World Cup podiums so far in 2009, set the record straight in a time of 2:19.92.

Super-G world champion Didier Cuche, winner last weekend in Sestriere, Italy, had to be content with second place, 0.19 seconds adrift, despite clocking the fastest time on the first run.

Italy's Massimiliano Blardone was third, 0.34 behind.

Ivica Kostelic was a lowly 20th but it was enough for the Croat to keep a slim lead in a wide-open race for the overall World Cup title.

Kostelic has 813 points, but four skiers are within 100 points of his total in the overall standings.


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