Julia Mancuso lost a pole during her race, but finished 18th to lead the U.S. Ski Team in the Crans Montana downhill. (Getty Images/AFP - Fabrice Coffrini)
CRANS MONTANA, Switzerland (March 2) - Olympic super combined bronze medalist Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA) lost a pole, but hung on to lead the U.S. Ski Team with 18th Sunday in the final downhill prior to the March 10-17 World Cup Finals. Only the top 25 athletes in each discipline qualify to start at World Cup Finals. Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA) finished 21st in the race and will also have a downhill start during the March 12 women's race. Andrea Fischbacher, who did not make the 2014 Austrian Olympic Team, produced a stunning charge from bib 29 to win the race ahead of teammate Anna Fenninger. Universal Sports Network will broadcast the race at 11 a.m. ET.
Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA) led the U.S. Ski Team with 18th, despite losing her right pole Sunday in the final Audi FIS Alpine World Cup downhill before the March 10-17 World Cup Finals.
Only the top 25 athletes in each discipline, plus the Junior World Champion qualify to start at World Cup Finals. Athletes with over 500 World Cup points are also eligible to start Finals races.
Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA), 21st on the day, but 13th in the downhill standings will join the 16th ranked Mancuso on the finals start list.
Laurenne Ross (Bend, OR) finshed 30th, Jackie Wiles (Aurora, OR) 31st, Julia Ford (Holderness, NH) 38th and Leanne Smith (N. Conway, NH) 40th.
Cook, Mancuso and Smith have also qualified for super G at World Cup Finals. They are ranked 13, 14 and 23 respectively in the discipline.
Austrian Andrea Fischbacher, who was left off the 2014 Olympic Team, won the race from the 29th start position.
German Maria Hoefl-Riesch finished ninth, and despite the result has all but mathematically locked the season-long downhill title with a 504-424 point advantage over Austrian Anna Fenniger, who was second.
The race, which was delayed two and a half hours due to fog, started a day later than was planned also because of fog. A super combined originally slated for Sunday was canceled and will not be made up.
The women's tour now switches back to technical events with a pair of giant slalom races and a slalom March 6-8 in Are, Sweden.
Universal Sports Network will broadcast the race at 11 a.m. ET.
QUOTES Chip White, Head Coach - women's speed It's a challenging course with a lot of terrain, but it's nothing we haven't prepared for. Each of these athletes has the ability to ski well on this type of terrain and in these types of conditions, but we just didn't execute. We only had one training run and it was a few days ago, so that didn't help, but it's not an excuse.
Julia is going to stay in Crans Montana and train some giant slalom before going to Sweden and Stacey and Leanne are going to take a few days off before going doing some more training before Lenzerheide. Unfortunately none of the other athletes qualified for World Cup Finals, but they're going to keep moving. Ross, Ford and Wiles will head back to North America for NorAm Finals and then onto Squaw Valley for the U.S. Championships.