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USA's Lindsey Vonn wins fifth downhill in a row

With her victory in the downhill race in Cortina d'Ampezzo, in Italy, American Lindsey Vonn clinches her fifth consecutive win in the discipline and her eighth victory this season.

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AFP - All eyes at next month's Winter Olympic Games will be firmly set on Lindsey Vonn after the American won her fifth successive World Cup downhill race here on Saturday.

It was the 25-year-old's second win in two days after she had claimed victory in the super-G on Friday, and her eighth this season.

Vonn consolidated her lead atop the World Cup overall standings ahead of Germany's Maria Riesch.

The American reigning world champion in the downhill and super-G clocked 1min 37.70sec, making up for a sluggish top part of the course with an impressive finish on the 2,605-metre-long course under brilliant sunshine.

She finished 0.42sec ahead of Maria Riesch, with Sweden's Anja Paerson and Nadja Kamer of Switzerland both in third at 0.82sec.

The victory saw Vonn go level with her childhood heroine and former US ski racer Picabo Street, who won five downhill races on the trot in the 1994/5 season.

Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell holds the record, with eight consecutive downhill victories in 1972/3, and 13 over two seasons.

The World Cup continues here on Sunday with a giant slalom.

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