July 22nd, 2024

Lara Gut-Behrami wins a super-G for 20th career World Cup win in favored event for Olympic champion

By The Associated Press on January 14, 2024.

ALTENMARKT-ZAUCHENSEE, Austria (AP) – The standout super-G skier of her generation, Lara Gut-Behrami raced to a 20th career World Cup win Sunday in her favored event that overall standings leader Mikaela Shiffrin skipped.

Only American great Lindsey Vonn’s 28 wins in super-G ranks above the 2022 Olympic champion Gut-Behrami in the discipline that demands the speed of downhill and the technical skills to adapt to an unfamiliar gate-setting.

Gut-Behrami finished 0.25 seconds ahead of Cornelia Huetter, the Austrian who won the super-G Friday where the Swiss star placed third. Mirjam Puchner was third Sunday, trailing Gut-Behrami by 0.26.

World Cup leader Shiffrin decided not to race the speed weekend in Austria, and ended up going to the Swiss capital Bern where her partner Aleksander Aamodt Kilde is in hospital. Kilde crashed hard on Saturday in the men’s downhill at Wengen and dislocated his right shoulder.

Shiffrin is scheduled to compete Tuesday evening in a World Cup slalom under floodlights at Flachau, a neighboring resort to Altenmarkt.

Cassidy Gray of Panorama, B.C., and Valerie Grenier of St. Isidore, Ont., didn’t finish.

Crossing the line, Gut-Behrami clenched her right fist and punched the air on seeing she had taken the lead.

“It’s a nice feeling to ski like that. It’s what I wanted from the top to the finish,” Gut-Behrami said, acknowledging she had lacked confidence in previous speed races. In giant slalom, however, she already won twice this season.

Her 40th career World Cup win – seventh on the all-time women’s win list led by Shiffrin’s 93 – came 13 years after her previous win at Altenmarkt-Zauchensee in a super-G. That had been just the second win of her career and Vonn was runner-up that day.

Gut-Behrami is a four-time champion in the season-long super-G standings and is second this season behind Huetter.

Shiffrin still leads the overall World Cup standings in search of a record-tying sixth title to match Annemarie Moser-Pröll, the Austrian downhill great who dominated skiing in the 1970s.

Shiffrin’s lead was cut to 140 points by Federica Brignone, the 2020 overall champion, who finished outside the top 10 Sunday after placing just 14th in the downhill Saturday.

The women racers had speed events on three straight days this weekend and will do again in two weeks’ time at Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, and next month at Crans-Montana, Switzerland.

An unusually intense men’s program this weekend at Wengen – the longest course on the World Cup circuit and where a third race was added to replace a previously canceled downhill – was questioned by racers after Kilde’s crash, where fatigue seemed to be a factor.

Race times added up to more than six minutes for the three races at Wengen compared to about four minutes, 20 seconds at Altenmarkt.

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More AP skiing: https://apnews.com/hub/skiing

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