Updated: Thursday, 19 December 2013 09:49 | By Agence France-Presse

Lindsey Vonn back on the slopes in latest step towards Sochi

Lindsey Vonn has chosen the right place for the next stop on her road back to fitness ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February.


Lindsey Vonn back on the slopes in latest step towards Sochi

Lindsey Vonn of the USA arrives for the first training run for the Women's World Cup downhill, in Val d'’Isere, French Alps, on December 18, 2013

The 29-year-old, a four-time overall World Cup winner, opted out of last weekend's St Moritz outing and Tuesday's slalom in Courchevel.

In her fight to regain full fitness in time to defend her Olympic downhill title, Vonn is being choosy.

Returning to competition at Lake Louise in the first week of December, she showed steady progress over three races in her first starts since reconstructive surgery on her right knee after a crash at the World Championships in Schladming last February.

But the American, whose boyfriend is golf world number one Tiger Woods, will return for Saturday's downhill and Sunday's giant slalom in a place she knows well.

Not only did she win World Championships downhill gold in Val d'Isere in 2009, albeit on a different piste, she also won World Cup downhills in 2006, 2007 and 2010, as well as two super-combined events in the same period.

Vonn has admitted that she is confident of surpassing Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell's record of 62 women's World Cup victories - the American has 59 - and even Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark's mark of 86.

"I've already been thinking about that," Vonn told Red Bulletin magazine.

"My current plan is to keep going until the 2015 World Cup. then I'll see how far away I am from that number and then I'll decide what to do, whether I'll keep going in every discipline or maybe just downhill and super-G and concentrate on that record.

"Records are the only thing which remains of an athlete. The only thing that people will remember."

Vonn finished in 12th spot in the first training run on Wednesday, 1.23sec off the lead time of 1min 49.30sec set by Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch, who won back-to-back downhills in Lake Louise.

Current World Cup leader Lara Gut of Switzerland, who won last year's downhill race in Val d'Isere, was a further 0.06sec adrift while Slovenia's reigning world super-G champion Tina Maze was just ahead, in 11th (+1.20sec).

Austrian Anna Fenninger and Spain's Carolina Ruiz Castillo were second and third, with a raft of favourites also showing promise on the Oreiller Killy piste.

Hoefl-Riesch's outing went some way to making up for the disappointment of bombing out of Tuesday's slalom in nearby Courchevel.

"The last races were difficult for me, especially yesterday," said the 29-year-old German, who finished 13th in last year's downhill.

"I was really fast before I unfortunately skied out. I also struggled in the last two super-G races in Lake Louise and St. Moritz.

"In downhill for now it's looking good. My skis must be super fast, because I didn't ski perfectly today and still managed to be the fastest. I hope I can have a good race on Saturday and make up some points."

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