|LIENZ, Austria (Dec. 28) - Olympic champion Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) was second Friday in a World Cup giant slalom - her third straight top-3 - to move into second place overall behind teammate Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) in the World Cup standings. Italy's Denise Karbon swept her third straight GS with Mancuso, runner-up to her in the season opener Oct. 27, also moving into second in GS points. Webcast coverage of the race is available now on WCSN.com.Karbon stayed unbeaten in GS this season with a time of 2:02.73 as she laid down the fastest time on each run. Mancuso, fourth after the first run, finished in 2:04.01. It's her third consecutive podium, following a pair of third-place results last weekend in St. Anton, Austria. All four of her top-3s this season have come in Austria, starting with her second-place result behind Karbon in the opener in Soelden two months ago.|
Megan McJames (Park City, UT) turned-in her first top-20, finishing 17th in 2:05.81 and Libby Ludlow (Bellevue, WA) was 22nd.
After 13 World Cup races, Vonn - who failed to qualify for the second run Friday - leads with 474 points and is No. 1 in downhill. She also won the only combined event, which was a one-day super combined last weekend in St. Anton. Mancuso is second overall at 444 and is second to Karbon (300 points) in GS with 186.
Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, WY) was injured in the first run when she crashed through safety netting. U.S. Ski Team Medical Director Richard Quincy was awaiting a medical update.
Mancuso wanted to win for Stiegler
Mancuso said she hoped to win the race for Stiegler, a close friend in addition to being a teammate. The two, 2006 Olympic teammates, traveled together to Thailand last spring and both women graduated from Utah's Park City Winter School.
"I gave everything to win it for Resi, but Denise was just incredibly fast," Mancuso said.
"The way Denise skied today, I can only be happy to finish second. My first victory will come soon. I'm sure about that." She noted it not only was her third straight podium, but they came in three different disciplines.
Despite the surge in the standings, she shrugged off any speculation about an overall World Cup title. "That's not my goal when I'm racing. It's nice when I'm done and the points are there, but I don't think about that as I race," Mancuso said.
The first run was slick, she said, while the second had more shadows and more tricky turns. "It was really difficult," Mancuso said.
Coach also pleased with McJames, Ludlow
"Julia was outstanding. She made the quick transition from downhill skis last weekend to GS skis. She was attacking each run, and had a great day," Head Coach Patrick Riml said. "She's done well in Austria...and she'll keep doing well."
A year ago, as she registered the best season by a U.S. woman since Tamara McKinney in 1984, Mancuso collected the first four wins of her career and strung an historic streak of five consecutive top-3s.
Riml also was pleased with the performances by McJames - who earned her first World Cup points last season in a foggy GS at Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy - and Ludlow. "It was an awesome show from Megan, her personal best. Libby was solid on the top in her second run and made sure she finished the run and got those points."
Course conditions in the 30-degree sunshine "were just perfect. You can't see a track on the course. The organizers did a great job," Riml said.
The women run slalom Saturday and then take a break for the new year.
AUDI FIS ALPINE WORLD CUP
Lienz, AUT - Dec. 28, 2007
Women's Giant Slalom
1. Denise Karbon, Italy, 2:02.73
2. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA, 2:04.01
3. Nicole Gius, Italy, 2:04.35
4. Elisabeth Goergl, Austria, 2:04.46
5. Kathrin Hoelzl, Germany, 2:04.46
Megan. McJames, Park City, UT, 2:05.81
Libby Ludlow, Bellevue, WA, 2:06.30
Did not qualify for 2nd run:
Lindsey Vonn, Vail, CO; Lauren Ross, Stowe, VT; Stacey Cook, Mammoth Mountain, CA; Jessica Kelley, Starksboro, VT
Resi Stiegler, Jackson Hole, WY
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Picture by Alex Broadway/SWpix.com