Switzerland’s Lara Gut-Behrami (Ed JONES)
In-form Swiss skier Lara Gut-Behrami ousted injured Mikaela Shiffrin at the top of the overall title standings with victory in the World Cup giant slalom in Soldeu on Saturday.
Gut-Behrami finished only ninth behind Italian Marta Bassino in the first leg, but produced a fast second to claim victory in a combined time of 1min 59.27sec.
“My first run was not what I wanted, I felt a little bit too round and maybe too passive on my skis,” admitted Gut-Behrami.
“The second run I just tried to attack, to move forward and try to be fast on every metre on the slope. I had a big mistake on the finish, so I’m really happy that in the end it worked out.”
The result saw the Swiss racer surge to 1,214 points in the overall standings, five ahead of Shiffrin, who suffered a knee injury in a downhill at Cortina last month and has yet to fix a return date.
“The globes, they give them in March and not before,” Gut-Behrami cautioned.
“And I think also this season we saw that to win something it’s not just skiing well, it’s not just your technique, it’s about being healthy and staying safe.
“My first priority is to come to the end of the season, and sometimes we forget that. It’s not always talking about points or wins, it’s more about skiing great and staying safe.”
Depending on when Shiffrin might make her comeback, Gut-Behrami is well poised for a second overall title, having previously triumphed in 2016. She has also finished second on three occasions, and third once.
The victory was the 32-year-old Swiss skier’s 43rd on the circuit, on which the Olympic super-G gold medallist has been an ever-present for 16 seasons.
New Zealander Alice Robinson finished second at the Andorran ski resort, just one-hundredth of a second behind Gut-Behrami.
American AJ Hurt rounded out the podium at 0.15sec.
“It’s always a bit bittersweet coming second with one hundredth (behind),” said Robinson.
“For sure I’m a little bit disappointed that I couldn’t get the win but a podium is still a really good result.”
It was a fourth giant slalom podium for the 22-year-old Robinson, who won three World Cup races as a teenager.
“I’ve gotten to a point where I’m feeling a lot more consistent than I’ve ever felt,” she said.
“Over different weekends, different slopes and different snow conditions, I feel like my skiing’s been quite solid across the board.”