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Associated Press, Published March 10 2011

Lindsey Vonn, Maria Riesch in race for World Cup overall title

SPINDLERUV MLYN, Czech Republic — Lindsey Vonn and Maria Riesch are competing for more points in the race for the overall World Cup title this weekend.

Riesch holds a 96-point lead in the overall standings ahead of Vonn, the three-time defending champion. The friends and rivals will compete in the giant slalom on Friday, followed by the slalom on Saturday.

There are six races left in the season. Vonn showed a return to full fitness last weekend, clinching the super-G, super-combined and downhill discipline titles in Tarvisio, Italy.

"I'm going to still keep fighting until the very last race," she said.

Vonn had skipped the second half of the world championships to recover from a concussion.

Riesch has finished runner-up to Vonn the last two seasons.

"I feel in good form and I am going to try everything I can to reach my big goal — the overall title," Riesch said.

Despite success in the speed races, Vonn has been struggling this season in technical events. She must improve in those races to have a chance for the overall title, because four of the final six races involve giant slalom and slalom.

Vonn managed to finish only two slaloms this season. Those were in November in Levi, Finland, and Aspen, Colo. She's currently 20th in the discipline standings.

She hasn't reached the podium in giant slalom and is 13th in the standings.

Riesch has been collecting points in all disciplines this season and is third in the slalom standings after winning on Jan. 11 in Austria. She is sixth in the giant slalom's standings.

"The gap (over Vonn) is not that big anymore, but now we have a couple of technical races, and I am looking forward to them," Riesch said.

U.S. women's coach Alex Hoedlmoser said the results of last weekend were a great confidence boost for Vonn and the rest of the U.S. team.

"For Lindsey especially, winning three globes in three days was definitely tremendous. It's definitely a confidence boost," Hoedlmoser said.

He said Vonn has been training hard on the technical events and had proved she could ski fast in the slalom part of the super-G race in Tarvisio.

Hoedlmoser said Vonn was ready to "attack full in every race."

"There's no more tactics really involved, it's going to be all out every race," he said.

World champion Marlies Schild is the favorite this weekend in the slalom. Schild has won five slaloms this season and tops the discipline standings with 500 points, followed by Tanja Poutiainen of Finland with 460.

In the giant slalom, Tessa Worley of France leads with 358 points, ahead of Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany with 335.

The women's circuit's next stop is the World Cup finals March 16-20 in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.