ALTENMARKT-ZAUCHENSEE, Austria Jan. 14, 2007 (USSA Release)—Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) and Lindsey Kildow (Vail, CO) - who were 1-2 a month ago in a downhill won by Kildow in France - finished 1-2 in a World Cup super combined race Sunday with Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, WY) finishing fourth for the best World Cup finish by U.S. women in history.
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Mancuso, who was third Saturday in the downhill, and Kildow filled the top two spots in the downhill portion of the one-day super combined, which includes a run of downhill followed by one run of slalom. Stiegler, who is branching beyond her traditional gate-running strengths, was 14th in the DH.
Mancuso's winning time was 2:09.16 with Kildow - producing the fourth-fastest slalom despite the softening snow - second in 2:09.22. World Cup leader Marlies Schild of Austria was third and Stiegler, who had the second-fastest leg of slalom, finished in 2:10.19. Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA) was 20th.
Teammates swap secrets of success
"Resi and I just shared some secrets to help each of us," Mancuso laughed in the finish, as she referred to swapping her advice on running the downhill in return for Stiegler's tips on handling the slalom set. "I didn't make the mistakes I made yesterday. I didn't how fast I was going but I thought I could be top five."
Mancuso had the fastest time in the lone training run Thursday and was on a course to possibly win Saturday's downhill until she misplayed a section at the bottom of the course, lost time and dropped to third. Sunday, she charged all the way, she said.
At the finish, she rolled around on her back on the snow, her skis in the air and got up wearing a California-size smile. She told journalists her new slalom boots "were really the secret" to her strong slalom performance. "I didn't do my best slalom run but as you can see it was enough for me to make it across the finish line with the victory in my pocket."
It's the second World Cup win of her career for the Olympic giant slalom champion, who took a downhill in Val d'Isere, France, before Christmas; Kildow was third in that one and the next day she won with Mancuso second.
Being on the podium for a third time with Kildow "is so cool ... It's so much more fun for me when I can share the podium with a teammate," said the 22-year-old Lake Tahoe skier, who came up through the Squaw Valley racing program.[pagebreak]
Kildow determined to finish DH this timeKildow, also 22 and who went out a day earlier on an icy turn, said she handled the tricky spot "by standing up - it wasn't fast for me, but today I made it to the finish. The conditions turned to soft and slushy (in the slalom), like spring conditions or summer training, but I ski well in that, so I just made sure to keep my feet underneath me and not slip. The slalom was pretty soft but they did a good job preparing the course. I tried to keep my feet in the ruts and work it because I wanted a solid run."
The current World Cup downhill leader added, "It was really a little like my first run since I didn't make it down in training and crashed yesterday. It was a little conservative; I know I can ski faster but my goal today was to be in the finish."
With only Schild breaking up the American surge, Stiegler, 21, whose father is Austrian Olympic champion and multi-medalist Pepi Stiegler, said, "We've only got one Austrian to get out of the way and we can sweep (the combined) at Worlds. We can do it!" Kildow added, "I think we can, too. She was so close (to the podium) Resi's skiing downhill so well now and if we all ski as we can, we could do it."
Head Coach Patrick Riml was almost shell-shocked. "It's unbelievable what happened, just unbelievable. If you asked me at breakfast if we could go 1-2-4 I would have said that's wishful thinking; in the last combined, Julia and Lindsey were sick. Wee know our girls can be in there if they're skiing well, but this is crazy...just so great because we all know this is within their skill.
"Resi's improved so much in speed. Every day she's getting more comfortable and today she had a great downhill and then, even in the middle of the (start) pack, she was outstanding...second best run. Obviously, for Julia - if you win you've done a helluva job, and she did...and Lindsey was skiing amazing.
Coach: Don't forget Cook's performance
"It's never easy after you crash in a downhill, like Lindsey did. But her downhill was so good and then her slalom showed her real potential," Riml said. "She says she didn't push that downhill but she was second so you know she was charging all the way but also wanted to play it a little conservative...
"And let's not overlook Stacey. She was super in slalom, just a helluva run for her."
The 1-2-4 finish is unprecedented for U.S. women in a World Cup and matches the 1-2-4 finish in the 1984 Olympic GS when Debbie Armstrong won gold, Christin Cooper took silver and Tamara McKinney was fourth in Sarajevo. (U.S. men went 1-2-4 in Beaver Creek, CO, a year ago with Bode Miller, Daron Rahlves and Erik Schlopy - despite a broken hand - accomplishing the feat.)
The next women's races are in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, with a super G Friday, downhill Saturday and giant slalom Sunday.
ALPINE WOMEN'S WORLD CUP
Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, AUT - Jan. 14, 2007
Women's Super Combined (DH/1-run SL)
1. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA, 2:09.16
2. Lindsey Kildow, Vail, CO, 2:09.22
3. Marlies Schild, Austria, 2:09.99
4. Resi Stiegler, Jackson Hole, WY, 2:10.19
5. Sarka Zahrobska, 2:10.50
20. Stacey Cook, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 2:12.66
Kaylin Richardson, Edina, MN