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Lindsey Vonn misses chance at overall World Cup title

Season's final race is canceled because of poor course conditions, leaving Maria Riesch as the champion.

March 19, 2011
  • Lindsey Vonn, right, congratulates Maria Riesch, who held on to win the overall World Cup title after Saturday's finale was called off because of poor course conditions.
Lindsey Vonn, right, congratulates Maria Riesch, who held on to win the… (Alain Grosclaude / Agence…)

Lindsey Vonn overcame a concussion and won three titles in three days this month. Yet she was powerless when faced with wet, foggy weather and a decision by skiing's ruling body to cancel the women's season finale at Lenzerheide, Switzerland.

"Win or lose, I just wanted the chance. I feel devastated," Vonn said in a statement released by her U.S. team.

Vonn was hoping to win a fourth consecutive overall World Cup title in Saturday's giant slalom. Instead, friend and rival Maria Riesch's three-point lead held in the overall standings after the race was called off because of poor course conditions.

"The cancellation of this race doesn't just hurt me," Vonn said. "It hurts the fans and the sport of ski racing as a whole."

Thick fog later descended, making it unlikely the two-run race could have been completed. However, the men's slalom was held Saturday in fog and poor visibility after a delayed start. World Cup overall champion Ivica Kostelic added the men's slalom title, and Italy's Guiliano Razzoli won the final race in thick fog.

The International Ski Federation said the decision to cancel — denying Vonn a last chance to retain her title — was not taken lightly.

"Working with these kind of snow conditions, we don't have any tools that would make it a fair race," spokeswoman Riikka Rakic told the Associated Press by phone. "All the efforts have been undertaken, but it was not quite enough."

The final points tally was 1,728-1,725 in Riesch's favor. The German clinched her first title after two straight seasons as runner-up. Vonn acknowledged some regrets about how the season ended after five months and 33 races.

"There may never be a day where I don't look back and say, 'What if?' " she said. "But right now, all I'm thinking about is how much harder I need to work this summer to continue winning races."

GOLF: Justin Rose leads Transitions Championship

One last birdie gave Justin Rose another six-under-par 65 and the lead by himself in the Transitions Championship at Palm Harbor, Fla.

Rose became the first player in tournament history with consecutive rounds of 65 at Innisbrook, and it gave him a one-shot lead over Brendan de Jonge and Webb Simpson going into the final round.

Rose was at 13-under 200, one off the 54-hole tournament record.

Scott Stallings, a U.S. PGA Tour rookie who has missed five out of six cuts this year, had a hole in one at No. 8 and had five birdies on the back nine for a 66. He was two shots behind, along with Gary Woodland, who was a playoff loser at the Bob Hope Classic this year.

Nine players were separated by three shots. That group includes Nick Watney, who is coming off a victory last week at Doral. Watney shot a 65.

ETC: Kyle Busch wins at Bristol again

Kyle Busch has earned his 10th career victory at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway with a dominating run in the Nationwide Series race.

Busch led 266 of the 300 laps for his third Nationwide win at Bristol. He has also won four times in the elite Sprint Cup series, and three times in the trucks series.

And, Busch has now won the last four events at the Tennessee track. He swept all three races at Bristol last August.

Kasey Kahne finished second and was followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Elliott Sadler and Joey Logano.

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Clint Dempsey became the first American to score 10 goals during a Premier League soccer season but could not prevent Fulham from losing 2-1 at Everton. … England was crowned the Six Nations rugby champion for the first time since 2003 despite losing to Ireland, 24-8. Wales had to beat France by 27 points or more in Paris to deny England but lost 28-9.

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Fiesta Bowl officials are bracing for what could be a scathing report from an internal investigation of the event's financial and political dealings, some of which may have skirted, or even broken, state and federal law. The report, which could come out as soon as next week, is the culmination of a probe by a three-member panel that includes two Fiesta Bowl board members and a retired Arizona Supreme Court justice.

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The president of Greece's track federation has confirmed that triple-jumper Hrysopiyi Devetzi, an Olympic medalist, has been banned for two years for failing to submit to a doping test in May 2009. Devetzi, 35, won silver at the 2004 Athens Olympics and bronze in Beijing four years later, and will miss the 2012 London Games.

Drew Hill, a two-time Pro Bowl receiver who was part of the Houston Oilers' famed "Run and Shoot" offense of the 1980s, has died at 54 after after suffering two massive strokes. … University of Houston officials say head swimming coach Mark Taylor, 50, died of an apparent heart attack in Austin, where he was attending the NCAA women's championships.

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