Paerson and Gisin take joint win in Altenmarkt downhill
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Sweden's Anja Paerson and Switzerland's Dominique Gisin celebrated a joint victory in Sunday's World Cup downhill race in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee (Austria). Lindsey Vonn of the United States of America is third.
REUTERS - Anja Paerson and Dominique Gisin, motivated by previous disappointments, celebrated a joint victory in Sunday's World Cup downhill race.
Paerson, who collected her 40th World Cup win, had been furious after finishing third in Saturday's super-combined here, won by American Lindsey Vonn.
Gisin, who had never won a World Cup race before, went into Sunday's event hoping to overcome a recent past marred by injuries and go one better than her second place on the same piste two years ago.
The two women, who both changed skis in mid-season, clocked one minute 47.52 seconds to show they were back on form two weeks before the world championships in Val d'Isere.
Arch-favourite Vonn made too many mistakes to look for victory but she salvaged third place, 0.17 seconds behind the winning pair.
"I was furious yesterday to let go a race which was within my reach," said Paerson, who won the St Moritz super-combined in December.
"But the loss gave me extra motivation to go for it today. After ten years on the circuit, motivation is often my problem but this proves that I'm well prepared and that my equipment is fine," she added.
It was Paerson's fifth victory in a World Cup downhill and confirmation that the reigning world champion in the discipline will be hard to dethrone in Val d'Isere.
Gisin admitted she had been helped by wearing bib number four as the visibility was better for the early starters.
"It's a result I had been longing for. I did not have any special ambition today, I was relaxed and it helped me give it my best," added the Swiss, who gave up plans to become a fighter pilot to concentrate on her skiing career.
Vonn, who had won the only previous downhill to go ahead this season, in Lake Louise six weeks ago, said: "I put a lot of pressure on myself and I made a big mistake in the last turn. Third is not such a bad result after all."
Her Austrian weekend was a profitable one as she reclaimed top spot in the overall standings from her best friend and closest rival Maria Riesch of Germany who failed to score points in the super-combined and was seventh in the downhill.
Next weekend will be a important one for Vonn, last season's overall champion, with two downhills, a giant slalom and a super-G in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy.
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