Lindsey Vonn cedes World Cup overall standings lead

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Lindsey Vonn‘s quest for a fifth World Cup overall title this season became much trickier this weekend.

Vonn ceded her standings lead to Swiss Lara Gut after the American finished 13th in a giant slalom in Courchevel, France, on Sunday.

Gut tied for second in the giant slalom after winning both a super combined Friday (Vonn was second, .01 behind) and a downhill Saturday (Vonn failed to finish) in Val d’Isere, France. Austrian Eva-Maria Brem prevailed in Sunday’s race (results here).

Vonn felt the after-effects of nearly crashing Saturday.

“I’ve just been trying to recover and trying to get ready for today,” Vonn told media in Courchevel. “I didn’t really feel very balanced today. I think I rung my bell a little bit yesterday.”

Gut now leads the World Cup overall standings by 58 points over Vonn through 12 of a scheduled 41 races.

Gut, the 2014 Olympic downhill bronze medalist and one of only two women’s Alpine medalists from Sochi currently racing, made up 180 points on Vonn in three races this weekend.

Vonn entered the three French races with a 122-point cushion on Gut and riding a four-race winning streak.

Vonn seeks to become the oldest World Cup overall champion and to take the title for the first time since before her two major knee surgeries that knocked her out of the Sochi Olympics.

Gut could well be the World Cup overall leader going into 2016, with next week’s two races being a giant slalom and slalom — Vonn’s two worst disciplines (though Gut is more of a speed racer, too).

“I just need a break,” Vonn said, adding that she would prepare for the next race in Lienz, Austria, on Dec. 28. “I think after yesterday I’m just really sore. I’m actually, physically, need a break.”

Vonn’s path to the World Cup overall crown — the biggest prize this season with no Olympics or World Championships — appeared clear after significant knee injuries to Anna Fenninger and Mikaela Shiffrin, who were first and fourth in last season’s standings.

Tina Maze, second in last season’s standings ahead of Vonn, is sitting this season out and may never compete again.

MORE: Olympic downhill champ done for season after crash

Eliud Kipchoge sets next marathon

Eliud Kipchoge
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Eliud Kipchoge will race the London Marathon on April 26 before he is expected to defend his Olympic title in Japan on Aug. 9, which would mark the shortest break between marathons of his career.

Kipchoge, who in his last 26.2-mile effort became the first person to break two hours at the distance, won all four of his London Marathon starts, including breaking the course record in 2016 and 2019.

His time this past April 28 — 2:02:37 — is the third-fastest time in history. Kipchoge has the world record of 2:01:39 set at the 2018 Berlin Marathon. His sub-two-hour marathon in Vienna on Oct. 12 was not in a record-eligible race.

Kipchoge’s previous shortest break between marathons came in 2016, when he also ran London and the Olympics. The Olympics will be two weeks earlier in 2020 than in 2016.

Kipchoge, 35, has won 11 of 12 marathons since moving to road racing after failing to make Kenya’s 2012 Olympic track team.

He has yet to race the two most prestigious marathons in the U.S. — Boston and New York City — but has said they are on his bucket list.

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Canadians become first female doubles luge team in World Cup

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WHISTLER, British Columbia (AP) — Caitlin Nash and Natalie Corless made luge history Saturday, becoming the first female team to compete in a World Cup doubles race.

The 16-year-olds from Whistler combined to finish 22nd in a field of 23 sleds, though that seemed largely irrelevant. There have been four-woman teams in what is typically called four-man bobsledding, but luge has never seen a pairing like this until now.

The German sled of Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken won the race in 1 minute, 16.644 seconds. Germany’s Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt finished second and the Russian team of Vsevolod Kashkin and Konstantin Korshunov placed third for their first medal of the season.

The U.S. team of Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman placed 11th.

But the story was the Canadian teens, who qualified for the World Cup event on Thursday. They were nearly a half-second behind any other finisher and almost 2.7 seconds back of Eggert and Benecken. But they’ll forever be able to say that they were winning the race at one point — a technicality because they were the first ones down the hill at the Whistler Sliding Center, but accurate nonetheless.

The only sled they beat was the Italian team of Ivan Nagler and Fabian Malleier, who crashed in the second heat.

There are women’s singles and men’s singles races on the World Cup luge circuit, but there is no rule saying doubles teams must be composed of two men. There have been more female doubles racers at the junior level in recent years, and it was generally considered to be just a matter of time before it happened at the World Cup level.

That time became Saturday.

Canada had the chance to qualify a second sled into the doubles field because some teams typically on the circuit chose to skip this weekend’s stop, and Nash and Corless got into by successfully finishing a Nations Cup qualifying race on Thursday.

They were 11th in that race out of 11 sleds, more than a full second behind the winner and nearly a half-second behind the closest finisher. But all they had to do was cross the line without crashing to get into Saturday’s competition, and earned their spot in the luge history books as a result.

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