USA's Mancuso wins SG in Garmisch

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By Shauna Farnell

Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany (Sports Network) - Julia Mancuso has been super consistent in the super G discipline for more than a year - her worst result an eighth place since last January. She proved that placing tricky gates on the Kandahar course in Garmisch-Partenkirchen doesn't hurt her much last year with her SG silver medal at the world championships here, but it had been more than five years since the California native had actually won a super G race - before Sunday.

The 27-year-old American put it all together on a course that tallied several casualties, firing down the Kandahar in 1 minute, 20.50 seconds for the victory while Austrian Anna Fenninger landed her fourth SG podium of the season, taking second just 0.13 seconds behind Mancuso and Tina Weirather proved the most consistent top finisher of the weekend, grabbing her second podium with another third place, 0.45 seconds back.

The sun shined brightly on Garmisch for Sunday's race but didn't do much to make for easier racing on the Kandahar slope as it cast several darker shadows on the already shaded course, which made for a little bit of blind skiing once the hill's notorious bumps came into play.

"In the downhill, half is pretty flat, in the super G you get mostly the steep. It makes everything kind of fast and bumpy," said Mancuso, whose other World Cup podiums this season include third places in the Aspen giant slalom and Lake Louise super G and a second place in the Bad Kleinkircheim downhill. "On this course, you have to try to keep your skis clean, that's it. In super G you never want to be perfect. Perfect is slow. Also in super G, to win you have to take risks. Today I wanted to take a lot of risks and try to win."

Taking risks didn't work out so well for several of the ladies in Sunday's field, While the Kandahar didn't account for any serious crashes, the course set and aggressive snow caused a handful of top contenders to ski off-course. Most notable of these was Saturday's downhill winner and current World Cup overall leader Lindsey Vonn, who slipped up around a right-hand turn after the second split and missed the following gate.

After Weirather set the bar for speed immediately wearing bib No. 1, the following three athletes missed the same gate on the left-footer at the top of the course. As for taking risks, regardless of how her performance translated result-wise, Mancuso knew when she crossed the finish line that she couldn't have skied any better.

"I was thinking to myself when I was crossing the finish line, if that wasn't good enough, I don't know what is," Mancuso said. "I didn't feel like I had the best run, but I felt like I kept a clean ski and carried my speed the whole way."

Fenninger, who was very pleased to be back on the podium in Garmisch, where she marked a significant point in her career last season, earning her first big time victory with the world championship gold medal in super-combined, said the Kandahar slope calls for a lot of instinctual skiing.

"You had to use your instincts. It was very bumpy then there were many shadows and I was taking a lot of risk," the Austrian said. "Garmisch is a very good place for me. I will always think of it as a place I like very much. My first big win and now another podium."

Weirather will certainly consider Garmisch-Partenkirchen a memorable place moving forward in her young career. Before this season, the Liechtenstein athlete suffered season after season of sidelining injuries, but kicked off in November with her first World Cup podium in the Lake Louise downhill, then followed up last weekend with another in the St. Moritz downhill and kept the momentum going Saturday in Garmisch, taking third in the downhill. Today marks her first super G victory, but she said she was uncertain upon finishing whether her speed would be good enough for the top three.

"With start number 1, one doesn't always know whether you have done it right," she said. "I thought it was fast. Then in the end I knew. It was a perfect weekend."

As on Saturday in the downhill, Garmisch native Maria Hoefl-Riesch once again finished just short of the podium in fourth place (0.55 back) in the super G, but was smiling and waving to the crowd nonetheless, saying she felt good about the weekend on her home hill.

Italian Elena Curtoni notched a career best result in fifth place on Sunday, 0.79 seconds back.

"I am really happy with this race," she said. "You really had to ski with your instincts on this course and it wasn't easy, so I'm happy to get such a result here."

France's Marie Marchand-Arvier wrapped up a solid weekend in sixth place Sunday, 0.80 seconds back, followed by double world champion Elisabeth Goergl in seventh, 0.83 seconds back and Italian Johanna Schnarf in eighth, 0.97 back. Austrian Stefani Moser notched the first top 10 of her World Cup career, tying for ninth place with Daniela Merighetti. Both finished 1.07 seconds off of Mancuso's winning time.

OFFICIAL RESULTS - Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Women's Super G

1. Julia Mancuso, USA, 1:20.50; 2. Anna Fenninger, AUT, 1:20.63; 3. Tina Weirather, LIE, 1:20.95; 4. Maria Hoefl-Riesch, GER, 1:21.05; 5. Elena Curtoni, ITA, 1:21.29; 6. Marie Marchand-Arvier, FRA, 1:21.30; 7. Elisabeth Goergl, AUT, 1:21.33; 8. Johanna Schnarf, ITA, 1:21.47; 9. Stefanie Moser, AUT, 1:21.57; 9. Daniela Merighetti, ITA, 1:21.57.

Other North Americans

16. Marie-Pier Prefontaine, CAN, 1:22.03; 36. Larisa Yurkiw, CAN, 1:23.96; 38. Kelly Vanderbeek, CAN, 1:24.87.

Did not start 1st run

Leanne Smith, USA

Did not finish 1st run

Lindsey Vonn, USA; Laurenne Ross, USA; Alice McKennis, USA; Stacey Cook, USA.

02/05 14:32:48 ET