By Patrick Lang
ST ANTON, Austria (Reuters) - Alice McKennis underlined the depth of American alpine skiing with her maiden World Cup downhill victory in St Anton on Saturday.
While all eyes were on fellow-American Lindsey Vonn who was making her comeback following a three-week break, McKennis stole the show in one minute and 14.62 seconds.
The Colorado skier, 23, was the fourth American downhill specialist on a World Cup podium this season after Vonn, Stacey Cook and Leanne Smith while youngster Mikaela Shiffrin emerged as the new slalom sensation this winter.
Vonn took time off to deal with health and personal problems after crashing out of a giant slalom in Courchevel a month ago.
The four-times World Cup champion had to be content with sixth place, 0.34 seconds behind her compatriot.
Italy's Daniela Merighetti was second, 0.07 seconds adrift while Austria's Anna Fenninger, fresh from a giant slalom victory in Semmering, was 0.16 off the pace and finished third.
World Cup leader Tina Maze of Slovenia was a solid fourth, 0.30 behind, and took her overall lead to 488 points over Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch.
McKennis made the best of the peculiar conditions - the start was brought down after fresh snow fell overnight, forcing organizers to work hard on the piste for the race to go ahead.
The American's best result in the World Cup so far was seventh in the World Cup finals in Schladming last season.
(Reporting by Patrick Lang, editing by Pritha Sarkar)
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