By Mark Lamport-Stokes
BEAVER CREEK, Colorado (Reuters) - Nicole Hosp, a perennial bridesmaid in the women's super combined, gave herself a timely boost by finishing third fastest in training for that discipline at the alpine ski world championships on Saturday.
A silver medalist at the Sochi Winter Olympics last year, Hosp clocked one minute 49.66 seconds on the Raptor course to finish .51 seconds behind pacesetting Swiss Lara Gut. American Laurenne Ross was second best with a time of 1:49.59.
"It was pretty good," Hosp, 2007 giant slalom world champion, told reporters about her preparations for Monday's combined. "It was two parts. One was not that perfect but the other time, it was really okay.
"I feel comfortable and I hope I can do similar in the race on Monday."
Hosp, 31, has recorded seven World Cup podiums in the combined but just one win, which came at Tarvisio in 2007.
Only American speed queen Lindsey Vonn has posted more World Cup podiums at the event with a career total of 12.
Vonn, who was denied gold medals in her two best events earlier this week, will also be competing on the Raptor piste in Monday's combined but did not take part in training on Saturday.
The 30-year-old American finished out of the medals in her favorite event, the downhill, on Friday, after settling for a bronze in the Super-G.
Another likely contender on Monday will be Slovenia's Tina Maze, the World Cup leader who has already collected a gold in the downhill and silver in the Super-G at the championships where she has set her sights on a five-medal haul.
"I know I can do this," said Maze who, like Vonn, did not take part in super combined training on Saturday. "I knew that before I came here so it's of course in my mind but thinking about it makes no sense.
"You have to go day-by-day, turn-by-turn, from discipline-to-discipline."
(Editing by Steve Keating.)