GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) — With the arithmetic clearly in her favor, Lindsey Vonn is closing in on a third straight overall World Cup title after finishing second to Maria Riesch on Wednesday in the season’s final downhill.
Three races remain and Vonn holds a commanding 225-point lead over Riesch, her good friend and rival. Vonn would have clinched the title with a victory, which is worth 100 points.
“I haven’t won it yet,” Vonn said. “It’s not finished yet. It’s still possible (for Riesch to win). It’s unlikely, but it’s not finished.”
Vonn, the downhill champion at the Vancouver Olympics, already clinched the downhill title and is also sure of the super-G crown. Although Riesch cut Vonn’s overall lead by 20 points, the German has given up hope on that title.
“I am still 200 points behind, I don’t think it’s possible,” Riesch said. “The pressure is off. I am proud of today’s win. This is the course for next year’s world championship and it’s good to know that I can be fast on it.”
Vonn finished nearly a half-second behind Riesch, who was skiing on her home course. It was her 14th career victory and fourth in the downhill.
“When I crossed the line I did not look at the board immediately,” said Riesch, who won slalom and combined gold medals at the Olympics. “But when I saw that I was more than a second ahead, I thought I could win this race. If Lindsey is half a second behind, I must have had a really good race.”
Riesch completed the Kandahar course in 1 minute, 34.82 seconds. Vonn was 0.48 seconds behind and Sweden’s Anja Paerson was third, 1.13 seconds back.
Olympic silver medalist Julia Mancuso finished fifth, and bronze medalist Elisabeth Goergl of Austria was the only racer to crash but did not appear injured.
Vonn clinched the downhill title last Saturday in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, which was her sixth downhill win of the season. She won all but two races.
Vonn is still nursing a sore right shin and broken right pinkie. She bruised the shin before the Olympics and injured the finger in a spill during the Olympic giant slalom.
Vonn can become the American with the most World Cup wins this weekend. She is tied with Bode Miller with 32. Miller ended his season early to rest a sore right ankle and is not competing at the World Cup finals.
The next women’s race is Thursday’s giant slalom.