ST. ANTON AM ARLBERG, Austria &

Lindsey Vonn won a women's World Cup downhill today despite skiing off the course in the first part of the race.




The American overcame her error to race down the Karel Schranz course in — minute, 32 seconds for her second victory of the season. She also won the season opening downhill in Lake Louise, Alberta, and extended her lead in the discipline standings.




Kelly Vanderbeek of Canada was second for her best World Cup result, 0.36 seconds behind, and American Julia Mancuso was third, another 0.02 behind.




"I don't know what happened. I had so many mistakes early on and never thought I would post the fastest time," Vonn said. "I can't believe this. After five gates I really thought it was all over. But I stayed cool and just tried to go down full speed."




Vonn praised the difficult course, which was also used at the 2001 men's World Championships. Many women crashed during training sessions earlier this week.




"It was the most difficult downhill on the women's circuit. It's a very technical course and I would love to see more of these on the World Cup circuit," Vonn said. "Many hills are just too easy, but this one demands everything of the racers."




Vanderbeek led the competition until Vonn's race.




"I had a poor training run yesterday so this is a great result for me," Vanderbeek said. "I went into the race with no expectations."




Mancuso was 0.3 seconds faster than Vonn halfway down the course, but lost time as she slipped in the lower part and barely avoided crashing.




She finished with tears in her eyes, realizing she had missed a golden opportunity to win the race, and did not appear at the post-race news conference.




Defending World Cup champion Renate Goetschl lost time when she lost control of a ski after jumping and finished well outside the top 10.




Anja Paerson posted the fastest time in the upper part of the course but quit the race at the halfway mark after briefly losing control of a ski on a bumpy part of the course.




Paerson, who had knee surgery before the start of last season, said she was scared of damaging her knee again, though she wasn't injured and will start in tomorrow's Super-combi.




Martina Schild, seventh in the downhill standings, did not start because of a knee injury from a crash in Thursday's training.




Nicole Hosp overtook Paerson at the top the overall World Cup standings. Hosp leads with 419 points, while Paerson and Marlies Schield share second with 383. Vonn is fourth with 374 points.