Veith wins first race since injury; Vonn pulls out with sore knee
Olympic champion Anna Veith won a World Cup super-G race on Sunday, more than two years after her last win.
The 28-year-old Austrian has been battling back from injury. She went to hospital in March to have the patellar tendon in her left knee surgically repaired. She had returned in December 2016, after more than one year out after heavily damaging her right knee in a training crash.
"It was a pretty emotional day for me. When I stopped in the finish I didn't know what was going on," she said. "It's important for me to know I can do it in a race, trust myself. I didn't race so much the last two years."
She profited from an early bib number to clock 1 minute, 5.77 seconds on the Oreiller-Killy course in Val d'Isere, France.
It was her 15th World Cup win and first podium since third place in the super-G at the Italian resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo in January. Her previous win came in the giant slalom at the French resort of Meribel in March 2015.
Victory came as a huge psychological relief to Veith who, before the injury, was one of the world's best. She won the overall World Cup title in 2014 and 2015 and also took silver in the giant slalom at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
"After my surgery I knew that the most important thing was to be in good shape and get my strength back," Veith said. "My injury was a very tough injury. All the girls know it's pretty hard to get over it."
Tina Weirather of Lichtenstein was second in 1:06.25 — her 35th World Cup podium — with Italian Sofia Goggia third in 1:06.28.
Remarkably, Weirather raced despite fearing she had broken her left hand.
"Yesterday, when I crashed I went with my hand in the snow and it hurt my hand and my shoulder," she said. "I haven't been to the doctor yet. I'm not sure what it is right now, but for sure not very good because it's black and blue."
She also knows a thing or two about courage.
"I could have just have thought 'I can't do it and given up' but I really wanted to do well today," Weirather said. "In the warmup it hurt really badly. I thought that with the adrenalin I'd forget about it."
One race is enough, though, and she won't be taking part in Tuesday's giant slalom in nearby Courchevel.
"I can't, because I can't hold my pole and I have to get an X-ray on my hand," she said. "I'm not sure if it's broken or not."
Goggia, second in Saturday's super-G behind Lindsey Vonn, has 15 World Cup podiums.
But only two wins.
Goggia knows what she must do to improve her conversion rate.
"Do most of the turning in the correct way. Sometimes I make mistakes in my performance," she said. "I have to put that off and just ski right and I think it will come."
Vonn pulled out of Sunday's race because of soreness in her knee. Having done the morning's inspection, the 33-year-old American decided against racing as a precautionary measure. The four-time World Cup winner is flying home.
Vonn, who suffered a back injury which left her in enormous pain at St Moritz last week during another super-G race, said she wanted to concentrate her efforts on the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in February.
"Unfortunately I'm not racing today. Knee is a bit sore from yesterday so to be on the safe side I'm going to give my body some rest," she said on Twitter.
"My focus is on the Olympics so no need to risk anything now. Still going home very happy after my win yesterday."