By David Gold

Maria Hoefl-Riesch_in_Sochi_February_18_2012February 18 - America's Lindsey Vonn clinched the Alpine World Cup downhill title after finishing third in the Sochi 2014 test event, behind Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch (pictured) and Austria's Elisabeth Goergl.

This means that Vonn (pictured below) is 231 points ahead of Hoefl-Riesch, and with two rounds of the World Cup to go the American cannot be caught.

The World Cup, running this weekend at the Rosa Khutor complex in Krasnaya Polyana, is a key test of preparations for Sochi 2014.

This weekend's action caps what has been a successful week for the Sochi 2014 organisers; who have received praise from officials and competitors for the design of the ski venue.

After winning what was her fifth consecutive downhill world title, Vonn said: "Downhill is my favourite event and it's always nice to wrap up a title before the end of the season, before the last races.

Lindsey Vonn_2_Feb_19
"I would have loved to win but that's skiing; you can't win them all.

"The main thing was to win the World Cup.

"It was really important to me."

Hoefl-Riesch (pictured below), who also had a win in the test event for the 2010 Vancouver Games, could not believe she'd seized victory in Sochi at first.

"I saw the green light, I came close and wanted to be sure it's really me standing at the top of the list and I couldn't believe it," she said.

"It's good to know you can be fast on a special track where a big event takes place.

"Lindsey was so strong in training that I really believed she could not be beaten.

"That's why I was very relaxed and let the skis do the job."

Maria Hoefl-Riesch_feb_19
Vonn can make her weekend even better tomorrow, when she bids to wrap up the super combined title.

It will be the conclusion of the three race competition, with Vonn and Hoefl-Riesch having won one round each so far.

In the overall rankings, Vonn is 448 points clear of Slovakia's Tina Maze, with Hoefl-Riesch a further 38 points adrift in third.

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