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Lindsey Vonn ninth in Garmisch super-G, eyes ‘revenge’ at worlds

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Lindsey Vonn finished ninth in a World Cup super-G in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, on Sunday and called it “a good first step” in her first super-G since returning from knee and arm injuries.

Vonn was 1.65 seconds slower than Swiss Lara Gut, who won after finishing second to Vonn in Saturday’s downhill. Full results are here.

Returning from a fractured knee and broken upper arm, Vonn’s previous two races were both downhills, starting with a 13th-place finish in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, last Sunday.

“Like in the downhill in Zauchensee, it took me one race to really get into it,” Vonn said. “I think today was positive. I didn’t ski my best. I had some trouble with the ice, but I will train some more.”

The women’s World Cup continues with a giant slalom in Kronplatz, Italy, on Tuesday, which Vonn is expected to skip.

Vonn, competing this month for the first time since last February, is next expected to race a downhill and super-G in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, on Saturday and Sunday and then the world championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, in early February.

The last time worlds was in St. Moritz, in 2003, Vonn did not make the U.S. team at age 18, when she was known as Lindsey Kildow.

At that time, her best World Cup result was 23rd. However, Vonn had placed sixth in the 2002 Olympic combined, the only top 10 for the U.S. women at those Winter Games and the best Alpine finish by an American that young in Olympic history.

“My coaches didn’t think I was good enough,” Vonn said Sunday. “Now, I get my revenge. I get my second chance, and I hope I can prove everyone wrong.”

From the Denver Post in 2004:

Kildow lost a big chunk of last season when she caught a tip on a gate in the season’s first downhill at Lake Louise, Alberta, causing a severe strain of the hip flexor muscles in her left leg. Kildow had to be airlifted from the mountain.

‘It was pretty bad,’ Kildow said. ‘I thought I had ripped my leg off.’

The injury didn’t require surgery, but it kept her out of action for a month. When she returned, coaches kept her on the developmental Europa Cup for six weeks rather than rush her back into the World Cup, making it impossible for her to qualify for the world championships at St. Moritz, Switzerland.

‘After coming off sixth (place) in the Olympics, it would have been nice to race in the world championships because I definitely was skiing at that level,’ Kildow said. ‘I thought I had a chance of getting a podium.’

Gut came into the weekend 315 points behind U.S. Olympic slalom champion Mikaela Shiffrin in the standings for the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing. She leaves Garmisch having sliced Shiffrin’s lead to 135 points.

Gut and Shiffrin’s battle for the overall title could come down to the World Cup Finals in Aspen, Colo., in mid-March. Though Gut’s chances increase if Shiffrin continues to sit out speed races.

MORE: Vonn sets date on proposal to enter men’s race

Michael Phelps still has ‘no desire’ to come back

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Michael Phelps says he has “no desire” to return to competitive swimming, but he is eager to stay involved with the sport and cheer on those who follow in his enormous wake.

In an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press while promoting a healthy pet food campaign, Phelps said he is excited about the birth of his second child and numerous opportunities away from the pool.

It was around this time four years ago when Phelps got serious about ending his first retirement, but he now seems content with his decision to step away again after the Rio Olympics.

His wife, Nicole, is about four months pregnant. The couple already has a 16-month-old son, Boomer.

“I’ve got no desire, no desire to come back,” the 32-year-old Phelps said flatly.

Phelps has attended a handful of swimming meets since the Rio Games, where the winningest athlete in Olympic history added to his already massive career haul by claiming five gold medals plus a silver. A few months ago, he conceded to the AP that he was eager to see how he would feel about a possible comeback after this year’s world championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Turns out, it had no impact.

Phelps said watching others compete “truly didn’t kick anything off or spike any more interest in coming out of retirement again.”

He is eager to follow the development of his heir apparent, Caeleb Dressel, who emerged as the sport’s newest star by winning seven gold medals at Budapest. The 21-year-old Floridian joined Phelps and Mark Spitz as the only swimmers to accomplish that feat at a major international meet.

“I’m happy Caeleb decided to go off this year instead of last year,” Phelps joked. “I’m kind of happy to see him swimming so well when I’m not there.”

With Dressel and Katie Ledecky now leading the American team, the U.S. is expected to remain the world’s dominant swimming country heading into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Even without Phelps.

“It’s time to kind of move on,” he said, “and watch other people come into their own.”

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MORE: Michael Phelps: I’d give Conor McGregor a head start

Dutch cyclist returns from horrific Rio crash to win world title

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Dutch road cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten came back from this dramatic Rio Olympic crash to win her first world title on Tuesday, taking the time trial in Bergen, Norway.

“This one is really beautiful without the crash in Rio, but this makes the story really, really special,” an emotional van Vleuten said. “Actually, I still cannot believe it. … This season I’m surprising myself what I can do. To be world champion in the time trial, I never thought I’d be able of this.”

Van Vleuten, 34, covered the 13-mile course in 28 minutes, 50.35 seconds, topping countrywoman Anna ven der Breggen by 12 seconds.

Australian Katrin Garfoot took bronze, 19.02 seconds ahead of Chloe Dygert, a U.S. Olympic silver medalist in track cycling. American Amber Neben, the defending champion, was 11th.

Full results are here.

In Rio, van Vleuten suffered three small spine fractures and a concussion when her brakes appeared to lock, and she flipped over into a ditch during the road race. Van Vleuten was alone in the lead at the time with about seven miles to go of the 87-mile course.

She was eventually hospitalized in intensive care.

Van der Breggen went on to win the Olympic title.

Van Vleuten wasn’t out long. She raced at last October’s world championships, placing a career-high fifth in the time trial. She then won La Course in France, a two-day race, in July.

“To be an athlete is to have really ups and downs,” van Vleuten said Tuesday. “Sometimes really downs, but the downs make the ups even more beautiful, I think.”

Van Vleuten’s first celebratory act Tuesday was to climb past two barriers and into her mother’s arms.

“Last year my mum watched the Rio race on television, it was her birthday and she was with lots of my family, so it was a really hard day for her,” Van Vleuten said in a news conference, according to Cyclingnews.com. “My father died in 2008, and so it was really special to have her here and celebrate the good things of cycling together. We’ve dealt with bad things together in the past, so it’s important to be really happy and proud to celebrate and to also remember my father.”

The world championships continue Wednesday with the men’s time trial at 7 a.m. ET on the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and streaming on NBCSports.com/live.

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MORE: World Road Cycling Championships broadcast schedule