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Marie-Michele Gagnon charges to first career win in Altenmarkt SC

Marie-Michele Gagnon gets the win in Altenmarkt (GEPA)

Marie-Michele Gagnon gets the win in Altenmarkt (GEPA)

Marie-Michele Gagnon has been on the verge all season. She’s finished in the top 10 in three separate disciplines, including slalom and super G, as featured in Sunday’s super combined at Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, and she’s finished just shy of the podium, in the top five, on three occasions.

So, with a solid-enough result in the super G and a very strong performance in the slalom, the circumstances were just right for the Canadian to pick up her first career World Cup victory, just her second podium.

“This is incredible,” said Gagnon. “All the pieces of the puzzle are coming together. I couldn’t be happier.

It was a clear win for the 24-year-old. Gagnon’s toughest competition came from Austria’s Michaela Kirchgasser and Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch, who each finished just under four-tenths of a second back, in second and third, respectively.

“It’s amazing and to be honest. I was quite surprised,” Gagnon admitted. “I knew I had to do a really good slalom since I was more than a second behind after the super G run. So, I entered the slalom without too much of expectation. I skied freely and that helped me give my best.”

For Canada, it was the nation’s first win in the combined in 30 years.

Warm conditions led to a deteriorating slalom course, which may have favored the likes of Gagnon and Kirchgasser, who ran a bit earlier as a result of less competitive super G finishes — Gagnon finished the morning in 17th, and results were flipped for the slalom start.

There wasn’t much representation by the Americans, as Julia Mancuso, who found her stride Saturday with her best result of the season, did not finish the morning’s super G portion of the race. Stacey Cook, Leanne Smith and Julia Ford were in the same boat. Laurenne Ross, however, skied to 20th, her best World Cup result of the season.

“It wasn’t a bad day for Laurenne, but she knows she’s capable of a lot more speed,” said speed coach Chip White. “And Julia was right in there. She was .06 out of the lead when she made a mistake and went out. I’m really pleased with what Julia was able to accomplish this weekend. Things are moving in a very positive direction with her.

“There isn’t any one thing I can say is slowing us down right now,” he added. “There’s a lot of factors in ski racing you need to produce good results. If you look at all the major nations — Austria, Switzerland — they all go through rough patches. We’re coming off one of the best season’s in history so there’s a lot of expectation on this team for results. But the only expectation I have is for them to be committed to working hard and staying focused.”

For Tina Maze, a new coach — Mauro Pini, who split time Sunday between coaching, setting the slalom course and working the Swiss TV box — didn’t help her cause much. The deadly all-around racer from a season ago was disappointed with sixth. Lara Gut was likewise furious with a 15th-place result after finishing the super G ninth.

Sunday’s results boosted Hoefl-Riesch’s lead in the overall standings, which have shifted often this season. With 731 points, the German now leads Anna Fenninger (709) and Tina Weirather (673), who sit in second and third.

View more photos from this race in our gallery.

 

The Scoop

By Hank McKee

Women’s World Cup super combined, Altenmarkt, Austria, Jan. 12, 2014

Equipment - Skier, skis/boots/bindings

1 Gagnon, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol

2 Kirchgasser, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic

3 Hoefl-Riesch, Head/Lange/Head

4 Hosp, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer

5 Hector, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic

6 Maze, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic

7 Siebenhofer, Head/Head/Head

8 Fenninger, Head/Head/Head

9 Strachova, Head/Head/Head

10 Feierabend, Head/Head/Head 

Women’s World Cup super combined, Altenmarkt, Austria, Jan. 12, 2014. … It is the 19th of 32 races on the women’s schedule. … The first of two scheduled super combined races. … It is the 27th World Cup event hosted by Altenmarkt/Zauchensee.

It is the first career World Cup win for Marie-Michele Gagnon… her best previous combined result had been fifth scored at Meribel Feb. 24, 2013. … It is the second Canadian win of the season after Erik Guay’s DH win at Val Gardena Dec. 21. … It is the 72nd Canadian World Cup win. … It is the first Canadian super combined win in World Cup history.

It is the 14th career World Cup podium for Michaela Kirchgasser… her fourth in combined.

It is the 78th career World Cup podium for Maria Hoefl-Riesch… her tenth in combined. … It is her sixth podium result of the season.

It is the best finish of the season for Laurenne Ross. … It is the first career combined result for Erin Mielzynski.

Maria Hoefl-Riesch holds the World Cup overall standings lead 731-709 over Anna Fenninger (eighth in race). … Tina Weirather (17th in race) is third with 673pts. Mikaela Shiffrin (did not race) is fifth overall with 514pts. … Marie-Michele Gagnon is seventh with 427pts.

Austria leads the women’s Nations Cup 3125-1778 over Switzerland with Sweden third at 1461pts. … The U.S. is sixth with 930pts and Canada eighth with 681pts.

 

Results

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time Diff. FIS Points
 1  19  105269 GAGNON Marie-Michele 1989 CAN  1:14.51  51.04  2:05.55  0.00
 2  16  55759 KIRCHGASSER Michaela 1985 AUT  1:14.64  51.23  2:05.87  +0.32  2.73
 3  18  206001 HOEFL-RIESCH Maria 1984 GER  1:14.06  51.88  2:05.94  +0.39  3.32
 4  20  55690 HOSP Nicole 1983 AUT  1:13.14  52.92  2:06.06  +0.51  4.35
 5  28  506399 HECTOR Sara 1992 SWE  1:15.45  50.97  2:06.42  +0.87  7.41
 6  17  565243 MAZE Tina 1983 SLO  1:13.91  52.77  2:06.68  +1.13  9.63
 7  36  56087 SIEBENHOFER Ramona 1991 AUT  1:14.33  52.39  2:06.72  +1.17  9.97
 8  29  55947 FENNINGER Anna 1989 AUT  1:13.73  53.00  2:06.73  +1.18  10.06
 9  37  155415 STRACHOVA Sarka 1985 CZE  1:15.66  51.16  2:06.82  +1.27  10.82
 10  14  515997 FEIERABEND Denise 1989 SUI  1:15.28  51.58  2:06.86  +1.31  11.16
 11  10  55576 GOERGL Elisabeth 1981 AUT  1:13.91  53.10  2:07.01  +1.46  12.44
 12  46  516280 HOLDENER Wendy 1993 SUI  1:15.44  51.59  2:07.03  +1.48  12.61
 13  3  425929 MOWINCKEL Ragnhild 1992 NOR  1:13.81  53.25  2:07.06  +1.51  12.87
 14  13  515747 GISIN Dominique 1985 SUI  1:13.89  53.18  2:07.07  +1.52  12.95
 15  15  516138 GUT Lara 1991 SUI  1:14.01  53.10  2:07.11  +1.56  13.30
 16  11  565320 FERK Marusa 1988 SLO  1:14.54  52.68  2:07.22  +1.67  14.23
 17  32  355050 WEIRATHER Tina 1989 LIE  1:13.53  54.19  2:07.72  +2.17  18.49
 18  4  297134 BORSOTTI Camilla 1988 ITA  1:15.10  52.80  2:07.90  +2.35  20.03
 19  2  298084 AGERER Lisa Magdalena 1991 ITA  1:14.83  53.81  2:08.64  +3.09  26.33
 20  12  538573 ROSS Laurenne 1988 USA  1:14.86  53.84  2:08.70  +3.15  26.85
 21  47  516219 NUFER Priska 1992 SUI  1:14.83  53.94  2:08.77  +3.22  27.44
 22  49  515766 SUTER Fabienne 1985 SUI  1:14.73  54.24  2:08.97  +3.42  29.15
 22  40  56125 PUCHNER Mirjam 1992 AUT  1:14.61  54.36  2:08.97  +3.42  29.15
 24  38  197497 MIRADOLI Romane 1994 FRA  1:15.97  53.28  2:09.25  +3.70  31.53
 25  6  297702 MARSAGLIA Francesca 1990 ITA  1:14.04  55.30  2:09.34  +3.79  32.30
 26  42  106961 MIELZYNSKI Erin 1990 CAN  1:17.17  52.80  2:09.97  +4.42  37.67
 27  48  56177 VENIER Stephanie 1993 AUT  1:15.34  54.72  2:10.06  +4.51  38.44
 28  1  55913 MOSER Stefanie 1988 AUT  1:14.29  55.84  2:10.13  +4.58  39.03
 29  5  196812 PELLISSIER Marion 1988 FRA  1:16.15  54.12  2:10.27  +4.72  40.23
 30  58  506664 FJAELLSTROEM Magdalena 1995 SWE  1:17.01  53.51  2:10.52  +4.97  42.36
 30  26  705349 GANTNEROVA Jana 1989 SVK  1:16.35  54.17  2:10.52  +4.97  42.36
 32  30  196968 BAILET Margot 1990 FRA  1:16.46  54.40  2:10.86  +5.31  45.25
 33  62  705394 KANTOROVA Barbara 1992 SVK  1:18.08  53.29  2:11.37  +5.82  49.60
 34  60  435245 CHRAPEK Karolina 1990 POL  1:16.14  55.96  2:12.10  +6.55  55.82
 35  51  245066 MIKLOS Edit 1988 HUN  1:14.58  58.16  2:12.74  +7.19  61.28
 36  39  35089 SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena 1984 ARG  1:17.93  56.40  2:14.33  +8.78  74.83
 37  56  385092 KOMSIC Andrea 1996 CRO  1:18.99  55.48  2:14.47  +8.92  76.02
Disqualified 1st run
 9  515782 KAUFMANN-ABDERHALDEN Marianne 1986 SUI
Did not start 2nd run
 27  196460 MARCHAND-ARVIER Marie 1985 FRA
Did not start 1st run
 7  296472 FANCHINI Elena 1985 ITA
Did not finish 2nd run
 53  505886 KLING Kajsa 1988 SWE
 43  56128 HUETTER Cornelia 1992 AUT
 31  196726 BARTHET Anne-Sophie 1988 FRA
Did not finish 1st run
 61  25096 GUTIERREZ Mireia 1988 AND
 59  56328 ORTLIEB Nina 1996 AUT
 57  495318 RUIZ CASTILLO Carolina 1981 SPA
 55  375018 COLETTI Alexandra 1983 MON
 54  197641 GAUCHE Laura 1995 FRA
 52  538305 SMITH Leanne 1987 USA
 50  197295 PIOT Jennifer 1992 FRA
 45  197006 GAUTHIER Marine 1990 FRA
 44  537582 COOK Stacey 1984 USA
 41  538855 FORD Julia 1990 USA
 35  297153 CIPRIANI Enrica 1988 ITA
 34  485631 YAKOVISHINA Elena 1992 RUS
 33  197319 BAUD Adeline 1992 FRA
 25  296427 SCHNARF Johanna 1984 ITA
 24  296008 MERIGHETTI Daniela 1981 ITA
 23  297601 BRIGNONE Federica 1990 ITA
 22  297910 CURTONI Elena 1991 ITA
 21  537545 MANCUSO Julia 1984 USA
 8  425880 SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth 1991 NOR

Geoff Mintz

Associate Editor

Geoff Mintz is a former alpine ski racer who cut his teeth at Ragged Mountain and Waterville Valley, N.H. After graduating from Holderness and UVM, he relocated to Colorado, where he worked as an instructor at Beaver Creek prior to pursuing a career in journalism. He currently lives in the woods above Vail with his wife, Colleen.

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