ZAUCHENSEE, Austria - Anja Paerson of Sweden posted the fastest time Friday in the final downhill training session ahead of the women's World Cup races.
Paerson, the downhill world champion, went down the 2.95-kilometer (1.83-mile) Kaelberloch course in 1 minute, 48.14 seconds. She was followed by three Austrians: Andrea Fischbacher was 0.38 behind, Elisabeth Goergl trailed by 0.45 and Renate Goetschl was 0.52 back.
Despite beating everyone, Paerson didn't push it to the limits.
"I can still go half a second, maybe a whole second, faster," she said.
Julia Mancuso was among the fastest starters and was 1.10 seconds back in seventh, while American teammate and defending downhill and overall champion Lindsey Vonn came 13th, trailing Paerson by 1.49.
Maria Riesch of Germany, who leads the overall standings, was 1.31 behind in 11th.
Mancuso won a super-combined race in Zauchensee two years ago to lead an American 1-2-4 finish — the best ever result for the United States in the women's World Cup.
"I recall that race well," Mancuso said. "I love to come here, the course is fantastic."
Mancuso missed a lot of training in the fall due to a sore back, and her best result so far this season was sixth in December's giant slalom in Semmering, Austria.
"It would be so great to get back to winning again," said Mancuso, whose last win was in March 2007 in Tarvisio, Italy. "I am feeling well now, I am happy with my equipment, so it all comes down to chasing it in the races."
Vonn, who was second behind Mancuso in that race two years ago, didn't use her race skis in Friday's training run.
"I don't want to show everything I've got in training," Vonn said. "I still have 20 percent more to give. Today was not a race, so the result and who wins or not doesn't matter."
"I need a good downhill, so I don't have to take too many risks in the slalom," Vonn said. "I guess it's going to be a tough fight with Anja and Maria."
Riesch, who used to favor the speed events, won four straight slalom races this season. During her first downhill training run Thursday, she lost a ski pole.
"Today I found a better line," Riesch said. "I am not dissatisfied but I can go a lot faster for sure."
The World Cup event in Zauchensee consists of a super-combined race on Saturday, followed by a downhill the next day.
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