When I say “Man” you say “Cuso.” Man-Cuso!
Julia Mancuso continues her incredible re-rise to elite status on the World Cup. Building on last year’s Olympic success, Mancuso clocked an 8th place finish at the Aspen World Cup giant slalom. Today, Mancuso served notice that her speed skiing skills are fully back to podium level. Mancuso has two World Cup downhill wins to her credit, but her last victory came in Tarvisio, Italy back in March of 2007.
After turning in the second fastest time in training yesterday, Mancuso did one better today, clocking the fastest time in the second training run at Lake Louise The Squaw Valley gold medalist edged out Slovenia’s Tina Maze by 0.16 seconds.
Lindsey Vonn, the dominant speed skier of the past three years, was uncharacteristically slow, finishing 1.24 seconds off of Mancuso’s pace, good for 17th.
But, training runs are like NFL preseason games. They don’t count and often times the results don’t correlate on race day. Still, Mancuso’s first and second will certainly give her a confidence boost heading into Friday’s World Cup downhill.
Mammoth Mountain’s Stacey Cook finished 6th, 0.65 seconds back. Cook has steadily improved from season to season, and she’s now consistently appearing in the top 15 in downhill. She finished 11th in downhill at the Vanouver Winter Olympics. Could this be the race where Cook nabs her first podium?
Leanne Smith, the reigning U.S. National champion in downhill, finished 13th, 0.80 seconds off the pace.
So many story lines for Friday’s first downhill of the 2010-11 World Cup season. Grab your popcorn!