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The fourth and final day of the impromptu Cortina d’Ampezzo speed week was marked by a return to Beaver Creek form for Lara Gut and her third super G win of the season.
On a tight, technical course set by her former coach and Tina Maze’s new coach, Mauro Pini, a headwind may have also been a factor, working against some of the ladies running in the middle of pack. The course, which more nearly resembled the technicality of a GS, saw 19 DNFs when all was said and done.
Gut, who increased her lead in the super G standings with the result, was aggressive and found the fast line on a course where many racers seemed downright lost. Italians Verena Stuffer and Nadia Fanchini took advantage of favorable wind conditions to set the early times to beat. Stuffer wound up just shy of the podium in fourth as Fanchini dropped back to seventh.
“It is a good feeling to win today,” said Gut. “I started the season so strong with four podiums in the early races, but then the tour came back to Europe and I never to be seen on the podium again. It was a difficult time, I could see success in my mind, but you couldn’t see it on the slopes. Now today, this win, it was very important for me.”
Tina Weirather, skiing aggressively and early from top to bottom, earned another superb result and her ninth podium of the season in second place. She’ll need all the help she can get to remain within striking distance of overall tour leader Maria Hoefl-Riesch. The German was very quick early in the run but got twisted up a few times and nearly missed the last gate, nonetheless finishing third.
As for Saturday’s downhill winner, Maze, the technical set by her coach was likely of some benefit. For the second day in a row, she looked strong and was able to find a huge chunk of time in the final quarter of the run to finish fifth.
The Americans appeared fatigued in this fourth straight day of speed racing. The team has delivered some positive signs this week, especially from Stacey Cook and Julia Mancuso, both of whom recorded their best results of the season on Friday and Saturday. Mancuso was not driving over the ski quite as much as she had been earlier in the week. Cook, on the other hand, was speedy out of the gate, but line errors forced her to tap the brakes midway through the run. The top Americans finished 13th and 16th, respectively.
“We definitely had some huge wind gusts, and we had some totally calm conditions. We had the wind sometimes in front and sometimes in back with the visibility changing all the time. So it was very, very challenging,” said head U.S. women’s coach Alex Hoedlmoser. “Some of our girls didn’t get hit with any of that, it was just flat light. Other ones that were up front like Riesch came to the bottom at the flats to a complete stop and then in her case had tailwind and still picked up third. It was definitely for some of them fluky, but for most of our girls no excuses.”
Leanne Smith may have been the victim of some back luck with the wind, but it certainly was not her best skiing in 32nd. For the third straight day, C Teamer Jackie Wiles finished within World Cup points. She got kicked on the tail of her skis a few times but played it safe to finish 29th. Meanwhile, Julia Ford clipped a gate and lost the line, skiing off course and failing to finish.
British racer Chemmy Alcott, returning this week from an injury that knocked her out of the mix for the past few years, found renewed inspiration by finishing 23rd, her best result since 2010. Although Alcott likely benefited from the numerous DNFs, she played it safe for a great result in the same week she received a discretionary nod to represent Great Britain in the upcoming Olympic Games.
By Hank McKee
Women’s World Cup super G, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, Jan. 26, 2014
Equipment - Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Gut, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
2 Weirather, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
3 Hoefl-Riesch, Head/Lange/Head
4 Stuffer, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
5 Maze, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
6 Goergl, Head/Head/Head
7 Fanchini, Dynastar/Lange/Look
8 Fenninger, Head/Head/Head
9 Marchand-Arvier, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
10 Hosp, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
Women’s World Cup super G, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, Jan. 26, 2014. … A make-up race originally scheduled at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. … It is the 24th of 32 races on the women’s World Cup schedule. … The fifth of seven scheduled super G’s. … It is the 92nd World Cup race held at least in part at Cortina… the 29th super G.
It is the eighth career World Cup win for Lara Gut… her fifth in super G. … It is her fifth win of the season following back-to-back wins at Beaver Creek in November, a win at Lake Louise in December and the opening win at Soelden in October.
It is the 16th World Cup podium of Tina Weirather’s career, her ninth of the season and her third this season at Cortina.
It is the 81st career World Cup podium for Maria Hoefl-Riesch… her 58th in super G. … It is her ninth podium of the season and her tenth career podium scored at Cortina.
It is the sixth time Stacey Cook has placed top 13 in a race at Cortina… the fourth time this season in four chances. … Julia Mancuso records four of her top six finishes this season at Cortina in the last four days. … Jacqueline Wiles adds a third score to her World Cup career listing, all three of them coming at Cortina this season.
Maria Hoefl-Riesch maintains the lead of the World Cup overall standings 1071-943 over Tina Weirather. … Anna Fenninger (eighth in race) holds third with 871pts. … Mikaela Shiffrin (did not race) is sixth with 489pts and Marie-Michele Gagnon (33rd in race) is eighth with 453pts.
Lara Gut takes command of the super G standings 348-310 over Weirather. … Fenninger is third qith 277pts. … Stacey Cook leads the U.S. in 13th with 84pts (Mancuso is 14th with 78) and Gagnon leads Canada in 17th with 66pts.
Austria leads the women’s Nations Cup 4020-2255 over Switzerland. … Sweden is third with 1722pts. … The U.S. is sixth with 1330pts and Canada ninth with 717pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|39||298084||AGERER Lisa Magdalena||1991||ITA|
|30||495318||RUIZ CASTILLO Carolina||1981||SPA|
|2||425880||SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth||1991||NOR|