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Vonn wins World Cup downhill race

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VAL D'ISERE, France

American skier Lindsey Vonn won her first downhill race of the season at Val d'Isere on Saturday to close the gap on overall World Cup leader Maria Riesch.

Vonn, the three-time defending World Cup champion and reigning Olympic downhill champion, had finished second behind her German rival in both downhills at Lake Louise two weeks ago.

Despite a small wobble near the top section of the 1.7-mile Oreiller-Killy course, Vonn finished in a provisional time of 1 minute, 51.42 seconds.

Swiss pair Nadja Kamer and Lara Gut were second and third, respectively.

Vonn was .001 down on Kamer at the second time split, but picked up speed on the second part of the course to beat her by 0.68 seconds, and the 19-year-old Gut by 0.80.

Riesch started poorly in soft conditions and kept losing more time to Vonn, finishing 2.28 seconds adrift in 24th place.

Vonn's win moves her to the top of the downhill standings ahead of Riesch.

The clear blue skies and bright sunshine were a stark contrast to Friday's weather when the super-G race -- already postponed last weekend at the Swiss resort of St. Moritz -- was called off again because of heavy snowfall and almost no visibility.

Elisabeth Goergl of Austria finished in fourth place on Saturday, with French veteran Ingrid Jacquemod tied for fifth with Italy's Johanna Schnarf, who was the first to start.

Riesch's run, meanwhile, went from bad to worse.

She was 1.09 behind Vonn on the first time split, then 1.10 and 1.95.

Moments after crossing the line, Riesch looked startled, shrugged her shoulders and then bowed her head.

Andrea Dettling was one of the first down on Saturday and crashed near the top section, flying sideways into the netting. But the Swiss skier got back up on her feet after a few seconds without any assistance and appeared unharmed.

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