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Four-time overall World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn won’t race this weekend in the opening giant slalom race in Soelden, Austria, according to the U.S. Ski Team.
“While I physically feel great, I have decided to not race this weekend and instead will focus on returning in Beaver Creek,” Vonn said Wednesday in a press release. “I am confident the extra month of training will ultimately put me in the best position to have a successful season.”
Vonn, who trained at Soelden earlier this week, is set to return to United States to continue her rehab after a devastating knee injury ended her season at the World Championships last February.
Beaver Creek hosts its first full women’s World Cup on its new Talon’s race course Nov. 29-Dec. 1 – a preview of the venue for the 2015 World Championships next season..
Eagle-Vail’s Mikaela Shiffrin, a slalom standout with four regular-season World Cup wins and a world championship last season, is scheduled to race in Saturday’s GS in Soelden, as is 2006 Olympic GS gold medalist Julia Mancuso of Squaw Valley, Calif.
On the men’s side, two-time defending Soelden GS winner and overall GS champion Ted Ligety, of Park City, Utah, will lead the American men on Sunday at Soelden. And Bode Miller, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, also makes his return.
“Soelden is an incredible place to start the season,” Ligety said. “Fortunately, we’re always able to get some good training on the glacier leading up to the weekend and it’s a hill I feel comfortable on. I have a good chance to win again, but I guess we’ll see on Sunday.”
The U.S. Ski Team’s European Training facility is located in Soelden.
“My physical preparation is probably the best it’s been in a long time,” Miller said. “In taking a year away from the World Cup, I’ve been able to let my knee heal completely. I’m ready to return to the World Cup on a hill where I had one of the first wins of my career.”
Miller is a two-time winner at Soelden, but hasn’t claimed victory at the traditional season-opening venue since 2004.
Vonn earlier this week experienced her first crash since her season-ending injury in February, and she’s been on snow since early September in Portillo, Chile. The defending Olympic downhill champion and Ski and Snowboard Club Vail product is scheduled to participate in the annual EpicMix Racing Pacesetting event at Vail on Nov. 8 and the Nature Valley First Tracks Team Naming event the same day at Copper Mountain.
Universal Sports Network will provide coverage of the World Cup season both on air and at universalsports.com. Soelden’s TV coverage begins Saturday at 4 a.m. MT with a season preview show followed by live coverage from Soelden at 4:30 a.m. Live coverage continues on Sunday at 5:30 a.m. MT with the men’s GS.