KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia – Marta Bassino stamped her authority on the giant slalom discipline on Saturday, winning her third World Cup race this season.
Coping best with tough course conditions, the Italian held on to her first-run lead, holding off a challenge by Tessa Worley to win by a big margin.
Worley, the former two-time GS world champion from France, was fastest in the final run but still came up eight-tenths of a second short of Bassino.
“It’s just amazing. Today was really fast. I just had to push and go down as fast as I could because the feeling wasn’t so nice,” said Bassino, who is among the favorites for GS gold at next month’s world championships in Italy.
Michelle Gisin was 1.46 behind in third for the Swiss skier’s first podium in GS.
Mikaela Shiffrin, who was fourth after the opening run, dropped to sixth. The Olympic champion trailed Bassino by 2.18 seconds.
Moved from Maribor because of a lack of snow, the race took place at a resort which is an annual stop on the men’s circuit.
“It was really tough. It was really icy,” said Bassino, adding that applying pressure to her skis was the most difficult part.
“It’s hard to push, because you feel the ski slide a little bit,” the Italian said.
Shiffrin remained the only skier other than Bassino to win a GS this season, in Courchevel, France in December. That result marked the three-time overall champion’s first win since returning from a 10-month break from racing in 2020.
A fifth GS this season was called off just before the final run, after gusts had blown away the setup in the finish area in Semmering, Austria, with Petra Vlhova leading.
The Slovakian skier finished fourth on Saturday and remained in the lead of the overall standings.
Vlhova had a stellar start to the season by winning three of the first four races, but got only one podium finish in her last 10 events.
Federica Brignone, who is the defending overall champion and was leading the GS rankings going into the race, was 2.10 behind in fifth.
Shiffrin’s teammate Nina O’Brien, wearing bib No. 27, was seventh after the opening run before finishing 13th for her career best result in GS.
“It was definitely very challenging—the surface especially. It was super icy,” O’Brien told the ski team after the race. “First run, I felt super happy with my run because I felt like I didn’t do anything special. It wasn’t some skiing I’ve never done before—it was just how I skied in training. To see that the speed was good enough and stacked up well in a race was cool. Second run was a total rodeo mess, but I’m glad I hung on and made it. Not so bad if it’s another personal best.”
Prior to Kranjska Gora, O’Brien’s best giant slalom result was 15th, which she recorded in Soelden in October, and she’s been consistently in the hunt in tech events throughout the 2020-21 season — finishing 19th in the Courchevel GS and ninth in the Semmering slalom.
Another American teammate, Paula Moltzan, tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday and was ruled out for both races this weekend.
Another GS on the same Podkoren course is scheduled for Sunday.
World Cup – Women’s GS – Kranjska Gora – Jan. 16, 2021