Lara Gut back to form with World Cup super-G win
Lara Gut bounced back in style from two miserable performances to win a World Cup super-G race yesterday for her third victory of the season and 21st career win.
The defending World Cup overall champion had failed to finish Friday’s Alpine combined race and Saturday’s downhill, dropping valuable points in her quest to close the gap on current World Cup leader Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States.
“Today I loved the fact I could ski the way I wanted. That’s what I’m taking from the weekend, I found myself again,” Gut said. “The last days I was skiing well, but I didn’t have the feeling. I’m a racer who really needs to have a good feeling. If I don’t have that feeling, I can’t push.”
Gut made no mistake this time, powering down the Oreiller-Killy course to beat Liechtenstein skier Tina Weirather by .13 seconds and Italian Elena Curtoni by more than one second. “From the first gate on it worked the way I wanted. It felt awesome, it felt fast, that’s the way I am,” Gut said. “You saw it yesterday, it was totally different.” Gut said she felt much more focused after having in-depth discussions with her team. “I opened my heart to my team and tried to describe what I was feeling. They know me better than I know myself,” she said. “They showed me that nothing was wrong and this morning I was myself again on the slope.”
It was her sixth podium and fourth win in Val d’Isere - and an especially important one considering her unexpected slump in form. “Yesterday was a good lesson,” said Gut, who had been reluctant to discuss her poor form on Friday and Saturday. “Sometimes I come in front of the media, and other people, and put myself in the position of being misunderstood.”
Curtoni was celebrating her second career podium. “I’m very happy,” Curtoni said. “I was injured in the middle of August so I lost two months of preparation, in the most important moment.”
Weirather was .47 seconds up on Gut but then faded. “I always lose a lot of time at the bottom in Val d’Isere, I don’t know why,” said Weirather, who is not totally content with her form. “It’s really good this season in super-G and GS but my downhill isn’t where I want it to be. I don’t know what to do, really.”
Gut’s other wins this season were in super-G in Lake Louise - where Weirather also finished second - and giant slalom in Soelden. The Swiss is a far more clinical competitor, winning 21 of her 38 podium finishes, compared to six in 28 for Weirather. While the 25-year-old Gut has a career haul of five world and Olympic medals, the 27-year-old Weirather has none. Gut is now five points behind Shiffrin heading into Tuesday’s GS in the nearby Alpine resort of Courchevel. Shiffrin skipped the three speed events here in Val d’Isere, but returns for Courchevel.
Italian Nadia Fanchini was fourth, just like in Saturday’s downhill, and Frenchwoman Tessa Worley placed fifth for a career best result in super-G.
It was another good day for Italian racers after they placed four in the top six in downhill. “We are a strong team” Curtoni said. “It’s nice if we can push each other more and more.” It could have even better as Sofia Goggia missed out on a seventh podium of the season.
She was leading Gut after the first two time splits, but then lost her balance and went out. Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia finished a disappointing seventh behind Austrian Stephanie Venier.
Stuhec won the Alpine combined and the downhill to take her season’s tally to four wins, but this time finished 1.75 seconds adrift of Gut. American Laurenne Ross, who missed the downhill with flu, was off form and finished 14th.
VAL D’ISERE: Switzerland’s Lara Gut, center, winner of an alpine ski, women’s World Cup super-G, takes a selfie with second placed Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather, left, and third placed Italy’s Elena Curtoni, in Val d’Isere, France, yesterday.