Gut checks in with vic­tory

The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

lake louise, al­berta» Lara Gut won what the weather turned into a World Cup su­per-G sprint Sun­day at Lake Louise.

The Swiss ski star claimed a third career su­per-G vic­tory at the Al­berta re­sort af­ter pre­vi­ous wins in 2013 and 2014.

Last sea­son’s over­all World Cup cham­pion fin­ished se­cond in the down­hill Satur­day, which Gut said was an in­di­ca­tor she’s ski­ing well.

“It’s my third win in su­per-G here so I knew that su­per-G wasn’t a big is­sue. It was al­ways a fight in down­hill,” Gut said. “Yes­ter­day and the last days I had the feel­ing I was fi­nally start­ing to build some­thing.”

The start was low­ered due to weather a se­cond straight day. Sun­day’s snow-globe con­di­tions turned the su­per-G — al­ready a shorter dis­tance than down­hill with more turns — into a dash of just over a minute.

The race was also de­layed 75 min­utes to groom and re­set the top of the course.

“I’m get­ting to be old enough to learn how to han­dle that,” Gut said. “I just had to wait an hour longer, but that’s not the first time that’s hap­pened. The key is to stay fo­cused and take it easy. If they say the race is on, some­one is go­ing to win and I don’t want to go to the start and al­ready be beaten be­cause I lost all my en­ergy.”

Gut’s fin­ished in 1 minute, 2.68 sec­onds. Tina Weirather of Liecht­en­stein was a 10th of a se­cond back of Gut. Italy’s Sofia Gog­gia, se­cond Fri­day in the open­ing down­hill, was third in 1:03.27. Slove­nia’s Ilka Stuhec, the win­ner of both down­hills, was fifth.

Amer­i­can ski star Lind­sey Vonn, who swept all three races in 2015, is side­lined with a bro­ken arm. Vonn has made it dif­fi­cult for any­one else to win at “Lake Lind­sey” with 18 vic­to­ries.

Faivre gets first win

B val d’isere, france» Mathieu Faivre led a fierce French chal­lenge on first-run leader Mar­cel Hirscher of Aus­tria to win a gi­ant slalom for his first World Cup vic­tory.

Faivre se­cured the fastest se­cond run to beat Hirscher, the five-time de­fend­ing World Cup over­all win­ner and a Val d’Isere spe­cial­ist, by 0.49 sec­onds.

France placed four racers in the top five, roared on by a noisy crowd that sang the French an­them — La Mar­seil­laise — when an emotional Faivre stood on the top step of the podium.

Faivre had 0.01 to make up from the first leg, and the 24year-old racer’s de­but vic­tory de­nied Hirscher a fifth GS win on this course since 2009.

France team leader Alexis Pin­tu­rault was third, trail­ing 1.11 be­hind the win­ner. Team­mates Thomas Fa­nara and Vic­tor Muf­fat-Je­an­det placed fourth and fifth.

Hirscher has now lost to two French­men in de­fense of his sea­son-long gi­ant slalom tro­phy af­ter be­ing run­ner-up to Pin­tu­rault in the sea­son-open­ing race at Soelden, Aus­tria.

Faivre, a for­mer world ju­nior cham­pion, has had three podium fin­ishes in World Cup gi­ant slalom in 2016 and Pin­tu­rault was along­side him each time.

In what has be­come the France team’s top event, its streak of plac­ing at least one racer in the top-3 of men’s gi­ant slalom now ex­tends to 14 World Cup races since March 2015.

France also got its only alpine ski­ing medals at the 2014 Sochi Win­ter Games in men’s GS, when Steve Mis­sil­lier and Pin­tu­rault took sil­ver and bronze be­hind Olympic cham­pion Ted Ligety.

Ligety led a five-strong United States chal­lenge Sun­day in 11th place, 2.63 back. He had been the only racer other than Hirscher to win a Val d’Isere GS in re­cent years.

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