Maria Riesch claims super-combined
ARE, Sweden -- Maria Riesch won a World Cup super-combined race Friday after a strong slalom run, while Lindsey Vonn finished sixth in her first race back since withdrawing from the world championships because of the lingering effects of a concussion.
Riesch extended her lead over Vonn at the top of the World Cup overall standings, finishing in 1 minute, 59.60 seconds. Vonn had the fastest super-G run on Friday, but dropped to sixth place after a patchy slalom run where she struggled to find her rhythm.
"I was disappointed with my result today, but I had a good super-G run," Vonn said. "I feel like I had a hard time with the groove, there was a bit of a rut and I lost my balance about 10 gates in."
Still bothered by concussion symptoms, Vonn withdrew from the remaining events at the world championships on Feb. 14. The American, who crashed during a training run on Feb. 2 in Austria, says she's fully recovered.
"I feel really good and my head is clear," she said. "I definitely feel good."
Tina Maze of Slovenia was second, 0.40 seconds behind, while Elisabeth Goergl of Austria finished third. Anja Paerson of Sweden was fourth.
Vonn was 0.48 back at the time split, but crossed the line 1.16 seconds behind Riesch.
While she was disappointed with her slalom, Vonn said she was pleased with her super-G performance.
"It was solid, aggressive," she said. "I was driving the ski. Definitely back to my normal self."
Julia Mancuso of the United States, who was fifth after the super-G, finished eighth.
Vonn did not perform well in her opening events at worlds. She finished seventh in super-G, pulled out after the downhill portion of the super-combi and took silver in the downhill. She said it felt like she was "skiing in a fog," unable to maintain her concentration for an entire run.
Vonn passed a series of concussion protocol exams each day during worlds, but the defending World Cup overall champion drew criticism for competing so soon after a head injury while still reporting symptoms.
With the win Friday, Riesch extended her lead over Vonn to 216 points.
"This kind of victory is very important for me because my biggest goal is to win the overall," Riesch said.
The rivals will compete in the downhill on Saturday and the super-G on Sunday. Goergl is the reigning world champion in the downhill.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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