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Lindsey Vonn claims race, title

MERIBEL, France -- Lindsey Vonn won the World Cup downhill title for the seventh time after winning the last race in the discipline Wednesday at the season-ending finals.

Her seven downhill titles and her 18th crystal globe are both records for women.

"It's incredible after being out with two knee operations. It is just amazing to be sitting where I am today," the American said. "I'm so proud and happy, and I really have to thank the people that supported me and got me back to where I am now."

Vonn finished 0.24 of a second ahead of Elisabeth Goergl and 0.30 ahead of Nicole Hosp.

Austrian racer Anna Fenninger finished second in the downhill standings. She trailed Vonn by 35 points heading into the race and failed to make an impact on the Roc de Fer course, finishing nearly one second behind Vonn in eighth place.

Vonn, who raced immediately after her, increased her speed on the bottom section to clinch a 66th career race win. She is the all-time leader in wins.

Some fans near the finish held up banners saying "Congrats Lindsey" as she raised her poles.

Vonn finished the downhill season with 502 points, putting her 103 ahead of Fenninger. Tina Maze of Slovenia was third with 356.

In the race for the women's overall World Cup title, Fenninger holds a 12-point lead over Maze.

Maze gained some ground on Fenninger by finishing fourth Wednesday.

Vonn, a four-time overall World Cup champion, is out of contention for the overall title this season.

She blew out her right knee in a super-G at the 2013 world championships in Schladming, Austria. She hurt her knee again in her comeback, keeping her out of last year's Sochi Olympics.

Vonn went nearly two years without a victory before winning a downhill in Lake Louise, Canada, in December. The next month, she overtook Austrian great Annemarie Moser-Proell's 35-year-old record of 62 World Cup victories.

"I'm incredibly thankful to be holding another downhill title," Vonn said. "It's been a long two years coming back from my injuries."

Vonn will battle with Fenninger again Thursday when the super-G title will be decided. Vonn is eight points ahead of Fenninger.

"Tomorrow is a chance for another globe," Vonn said. "It's going to be tough because Anna's skiing really well, and it's going to be soft conditions like it was today. But something about this track suits me. I'll give my all, as I always do."

Fenninger has been in great form, winning gold medals in giant slalom and super-G at the world championships last month and placing second in downhill behind Maze, who finished second to Fenninger in super-G at the worlds.

In the men's downhill, Kjetil Jansrud won the race and the discipline's season-long title.

The 29-year-old Norwegian, who has already clinched the super-G season title, beat Didier Defago by 0.24 seconds to deprive the 37-year-old Swiss veteran of a retirement present.

"I had to apologize to Didier; I felt like I ruined his farewell party," Jansrud said. "I remember when I started doing World Cups, Didier was always so easy to talk with and smiling. One of the good old legends in the game."

Jansrud, the Olympic super-G champion, is battling for the World Cup title with Marcel Hirscher, the giant slalom champion. Hirscher leads Jansrud by 64 points with the super-G, slalom and giant slalom at Roc de Fer still to come.

"Marcel's been skiing well all year, and if he grabs the overall, he deserves that," Jansrud said.

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