Ilka Stuhec wins W Cup Alpine com­bined race

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Ilka Stuhec moved from third to first and won a World Cup Alpine com­bined race yesterday for her third vic­tory of the sea­son.

Sit­ting third af­ter the down­hill run, the Slove­nian fin­ished .12 sec­onds ahead of Michelle Gisin and .16 clear of Sof­fia Gog­gia fol­low­ing the slalom run on the Oreiller-Killy course. “It feels amaz­ing, be­cause I know my run in the morn­ing was not per­fect and I made a few mis­takes,” Stuhec said. “I’ve never liked slalom too much, ac­tu­ally. Lately we’ve been train­ing it a bit more than be­fore.”

Stuhec’s two other wins this sea­son were in down­hill, both in Lake Louise. Prior to this sea­son, she had not placed higher than fourth in a race. “With the self-con­fi­dence I have from the races and the re­sults, I’m go­ing fast,” Stuhec said.

“I’m feel­ing con­fi­dent at the mo­ment and hav­ing fun.” Gisin, who is the younger sis­ter of Olympic down­hill cham­pion Do­minique Gisin, se­cured her first ca­reer podium. Her pre­vi­ous best was sixth place last week­end in slalom at the Ital­ian re­sort of Sestriere. “I’m very happy to share a podium with these two girls who are ski­ing so good,” Gisin said. “Ilka al­ready did such an amaz­ing per­for­mance in Lake Louise. I’m just happy I could ski the way I can.”

Gog­gia is also hav­ing a break­through year. This was her fifth podium in seven races this sea­son and moved her up to sec­ond place in the World Cup stand­ings be­hind Amer­i­can slalom spe­cial­ist Mikaela Shiffrin.

“I was def­i­nitely anx­ious at the start of the slalom,” Gog­gia said. “Train­ing is one thing, to start in a World Cup is way dif­fer­ent. I just tried to get the rhythm in the first gate and keep it.” De­fend­ing over­all World Cup cham­pion Lara Gut was sixth af­ter the down­hill and went off course in the slalom. “It’s part of the game. One time you win, one time you go out,” Gut said. “It’s never fun to ski out. I know what (went wrong), but I don’t think it’s the right place to ex­plain what’s go­ing on.” Her fail­ure to fin­ish cost her valu­able points as she bids to close the gap on Shiffrin - con­sid­ered her main ri­val for the over­all ti­tle.

“I just have to try and not think too much,” said Gut, who won last year’s down­hill in Val d’Isere. “It didn’t re­ally work to­day.” Gut, who also won last year’s Alpine com­bined at the French re­sort, is third in the stand­ings - 14 points be­hind Gog­gia and 105 be­hind Shiffrin.

Shiffrin is skip­ping the speed events in Val d’Isere and will re­turn for Tues­day’s gi­ant slalom in the nearby re­sort of Courchevel.

Amer­i­can skier Lau­renne Ross had led the race af­ter go­ing fastest in the down­hill run, but she ended up in 10th. It was her sec­ond ca­reer top-10 fin­ish. “I don’t ever go into slalom with any ex­pec­ta­tions. I don’t re­ally ski it very of­ten and it’s tough to hang in there,” Ross said. “I was just a lit­tle bit pas­sive. But I’m happy with the re­sult.” There is a down­hill race to­day and a su­per-G to­mor­row. — AP

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