Olympics: Mancuso leads in women's combined

US skier Julia Mancuso destroyed the field to win the downhill leg of the women's super-combined on Monday, crossing the line nearly half a second quicker than second-placed Lara Gut of Switzerland.

Mancuso, who won silver in the event in Vancouver, notched a time of 1min 42.68sec, 0.47sec ahead of Gut, with last year's super-combined World Cup winner Tina Maze of Slovenia third at 0.86sec.

Austria's Anna Fenninger, 2011 world champion in the discipline, finished fourth on the icy course, which saw some racers fail to finish.

Defending Olympic champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch was fifth but with slalom her specialty, the German is well-placed to win another medal in Rosa Khutor.

"The track was softening up in parts, but it's a good course," Gut, 22, said after her race.

Fenninger was less happy: "I wanted to ski faster."

"The slalom is very tough, the slope is very hard. It's tight, you have to be aggressive," she said.

Mancuso won giant slalom gold in Turin in 2006 and silver in super-combined and downhill in 2010.

The second part of the super-combined -- the slalom -- starts at 3:00pm (1100 GMT).