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Lindsey Vonn crashes to keep World Cup title open

Lindsey Vonn
Vonn crashed out in the first run of the women's giant slalom on Thursday

American skier Lindsey Vonn's crash in the giant slalom allowed German Maria Riesch to cut Vonn's overall World Cup lead to 165 points with two races left.

Riesch came third in the event at the season finale in Garmisch, Germany, but insists she is out of the title race.

"I would have had to win the giant slalom or the season would have to have been another week longer," said Riesch.

Slovenia's Tina Maze won and Kathrin Hoelzl came second, sealing the season-long giant slalom title in the process.

"I didn't win a medal at the Olympic Games, so it is good to have some success in the World Cup," said German Hoelzl.

I'm not going to back down from this and at this point, I'm used to fighting through pain

Lindsey Vonn

"Things are good for the German team at the moment , we are drawing strength from each other."

Canada's Erik Guay won the final men's super-G of the season to wrap up the World Cup title in that event, after a dramatic finale in which he overtook Michael Walchhofer and Aksel Lund Svindal in the standings.

"This is a childhood dream for me," said Guay. "To be honest, I was just hoping to win, I wasn't thinking about how long it had been since Canada won a trophy.

"I had to go for it, I knew I had to win and that I had only a small chance of winning the trophy.

"I fought as hard as possible and made some mistakes but I kept pushing all the time."

Erik Guay
Overall: To be decided. Lindsey Vonn has hefty lead in women's contest, Carlo Janka leads Benjamin Raich in men's event
Downhill: Already won by Didier Cuche and Vonn
Super-G: Women's already won by Vonn, men's won in Garmisch by Erik Guay (above)
Giant slalom: Women's won in Garmisch by Kathrin Hoelzl, men's to be decided
Slalom: Still to be decided
Combined: Raich and Vonn confirmed as winners

Carlo Janka of Switzerland finished joint 11th to remain in the overall World Cup lead, but his margin over Benjamin Raich was cut when the Austrian finished sixth.

The overall competition is now wide open with the giant slalom and slalom, the latter favouring Raich, still to come.

Janka admitted he had been hoping to finish ahead of Raich in the super-G, in which he is considered stronger.

"I'm not so satisfied," said the Olympic giant slalom champion. "I needed to take advantage today.

"I think the battle will go on until the last day. Benjamin Raich has been very consistent throughout all these years and knows how to handle the big race.

"I'm sure he will keep on fighting very hard until Saturday. Fortunately I have nothing to lose, I already had a great season so far."

In the women's giant slalom, Vonn fell in the first run as her skis locked, sending her spinning through the air and into the safety netting.

She has a small bone bruise on the outside of her right knee but expects to race in Friday's super-G.

"I'm going to race tomorrow," she said. "I'm not going to back down from this and at this point, I'm used to fighting through pain."

Vonn's 165-point lead means Riesch can still deprive her of the overall title but, with only 200 points now remaining (100 points for each race win), it would require more crashes for the American and exceptional skiing from the German.

Shortly after the race, the International Skiing Federation (FIS) confirmed Vonn as the super-combined World Cup champion.

Fri 12 Mar: Men's giant slalom, ladies' super-G
Sat 13 Mar: Slalom

She had already secured the downhill and super-G titles, but was awarded the super-combined as a result of the third race of the season being cancelled last week.

Bad weather at the venue, Crans-Montana in Switzerland, prevented it being held.

That left Vonn with 160 points from two races, with Anja Paerson of Sweden second with 150. The FIS confirmed on Thursday that two races were enough for Vonn to win the title.

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see also
Janka win takes him above Raich
10 Mar 10 |  Winter Sports
Victory gives Vonn downhill title
06 Mar 10 |  Other sport...
Abandoned race hands Vonn title
05 Mar 10 |  Other sport...
Alcott admits doubts over future
26 Feb 10 |  Alpine skiing
Riesch wins second gold in slalom
26 Feb 10 |  Alpine skiing
Fischbacher wins chaotic super-G
20 Feb 10 |  Alpine skiing
GB Olympic bosses to help skiers
05 Feb 10 |  Alpine skiing

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