Ilka Stuhec wins W Cup Alpine combined race
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