Mancuso continued to time the starts correctly and boogie
down the course without looking back, taking both runs against
Vonn had a split-second slip-up, getting caught up in a rut,
and left the first run of finals looking up at three-tenths. In the
second run she sent out hard, caught Hoefl-Riesch at the jump
and was so smooth from there to the bottom and stretched so
perfectly for the finish beam, she got the win by 0.08 and that
10-point cushion for the end of the season.
It was Pinturault and Neureuther in the men’s final. Neureuther
had not lost a run all night and much of that was predicated on
an explosive start. He was leaning way back on his skis and
launching forward timing the opening of the horse gates. He
held the lead after the first run, but by hundredths.
Starting a half-breath behind, Pinturault caught up by the third
gate and matched the German turn for turn. At the jump he
got his skis down on the surface faster and held him off for the
“This is a different thing,” said Pinturault. “It is my first win in
World Cup so I am really happy.”
He said racing the format called for pushing turns and a fast
start. “You ski fast,” he said, “and it is a lot of pleasure.”
“You had to flat-out boogie,” said Mancuso, who added that
the format seemed to be as much a mental challenge as it was
physical. “You have to get out of the start quick and not worry
about who you are racing against. It was challenging.”
There were three Americans in the event. Bode Miller qualified to race but was having a damaged knee examined back in
the States. Ted Ligety got hung up barging the start gate in the
first round and was unable to recover against Mario Matt. The
Mancuso-Vonn semifinal match was one of the most exciting
of the night.
Mancuso got the jump out of the start, putting pressure on
Vonn, who took a flag in the face and pulled up. That gave
Mancuso a 0.5-second advantage in the second heat, which
proved too much to make up. In the other bracket (think March
Madness basketball) Hoefl-Riesch and Kirchgasser were going head to head with Hoefl-Riesch taking the first run by a
tenth. Kirchgasser turned up the intensity in the second run
and edged out a 0.03 win.
That sent Mancuso and Kirchgasser off to the finals and Vonn
and Hoefl-Riesch to a runoff for third place and the 10-point difference between the two placings. Hoefl-Riesch had won last
season’s overall title over Vonn by three points, so both were
well aware of what it might mean.
Who needs mountains
for a ski hill?
The view from the
top included Luzhniki
Julia Manucso (right) boogies down the course
against Italy’s Daniela Merighetti.
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