Lara Gut back to form with World Cup su­per-G win

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

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.

— AP

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.

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