Vonn fastest in Lake Louise training

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American Lindsey Vonn posted the fastest time in Wednesday's training run for the first women's downhill of 2009.

Lake Louise -- American star Lindsey Vonn, who has won five downhills in Lake Louise since 2004, posted the fastest time in Wednesday's training run for the first women's downhill of the season.

Vonn stormed down the mountain in a time of 1 minute and 52.70 seconds to finish in front of Austrians Maria Holaus and Andrea Fischbacher.

After winning Tuesday's opening training run, Holaus posted another superb time Wednesday by clocking a 1:52.70 for second. Fischbacher was third in 1:52.76 and Swiss Fraenzi Aufdenblatten fourth in 1:52.82 while Italian Elena Fanchini rounded out the top five in 1:53.06.

Temperatures remained cold Wednesday as the skiers wore tape on their faces to prevent frostbite.

Vonn, 25, said she doesn't think the course is any harder than the past but with the unpredictable weather in the Canadian Rockies you have to be prepared to race in changing conditions.

"It is harder here when the light is flat," Vonn said. "The men push it to the limit. Some bad luck and bad lighting and one mistake and you are out," she said.

Unlike the close race for the overall men's title in 2008, Vonn dominated the women's World Cup circuit, winning the overall crown for the second straight year. But it is at Lake Louise where she really shines, winning at least one of the two downhills held annually for the past five years.

The 24-year-old Fischbacher was runner-up in Lake Louise twice in the Super-G in 2008 and 2005.

She is part of a mighty Austrian team that is missing veteran Renate Goetschl who decided retire this year at age 34. The Austrians had four skiers in the top 20 Wednesday.

Switzerland's Aufdenblatten is seeking her first World Cup win in her eighth season on the tour. She has cracked the top 10 twice in downhill in Lake Louise in 2005 and 2004.

Fanchini will come back from serious injury this weekend. She missed all of last season with torn knee ligaments.

Fanchini's lone World Cup victory is in Lake Louise in 2005 and she has posted her three best career results on Lake Louise's Whitehorn Mountain. She finished seventh in both 2006 and 2005 in downhill.

Fanchini was second fastest down the icy slope in Tuesday's first training run.

AFP / Greg Heakes / Expatica

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