Brignone blunder hands Vonn first Giant Slalom win
Sat, 22 Oct 12:39:00 2011
Lindsey Vonn won the opening World Cup race of the season in Solden after Federica Brignone's amazing fall in the Giant Slalom.
Up-and-coming 21-year-old Italian skier Brignone posted a stunning first run that gave her a lead of almost half a second over the field, but the pressure of the situation proved too much and she fell after just a few gates of her second run.
That error handed victory to US superstar Vonn, who became the fifth female skier to win in all five Alpine disciplines with what was her maiden giant slalom World Cup victory.
The American, who had managed just one previous podium placing in the discipline, triumphed in a combined time of two minutes 24.43 seconds.
Multiple world and Olympic champion Vonn, beaten last year for the overall World Cup crystal globe by arch-rival Maria Hoefl-Riesch, was the only contender to fully master the flat end of the Soelden glacier.
Olympic champion Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany, winner on the same course last year, had to settle for second spot in 2:24.47, while downhill and Super-G world champion Elisabeth Goergl of Austria was third in 2:24.83.
It was Vonn's 42nd World Cup victory and gave an ominous warning to her rivals this season, especially German Hoefl-Riesch who finished a lowly 24th.
"My best result here was ninth so it's a great change. It's the first giant slalom win of my career and it's hard to describe," Vonn said.
"I now hope to keep this momentum going. I have a lot of confidence now. I'm going to keep fighting."
Vonn lost the World Cup to Hoefl-Riesch by three points last season.
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