It was blizzard conditions on Wednesday for the second women’s World Cup giant slalom in Semmering, Austria, as American Mikaela Shiffrin powered through the falling snow to take her second victory in as many days with a combined time of 2:09.40 seconds. France’s Tessa Worley finished in second place for the second day in a row, 0.15 seconds back, and Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg made her return to the GS podium in third, 0.18 seconds off the pace.
Constant snowfall throughout the day provided a challenge for course crews fighting to keep the race line clear of snow. Despite the challenging conditions that forced the lights, which are usually used for night skiing, to be turned on all day, racing was quite tight for the second day in a row as only 2.21 seconds separated the top-30 racers after the first run. Shiffrin set the pace with bib seven with Rebensburg and Worley in hot pursuit in second and third, respectively.
Snowfall and visibility continued to worsen for the second run. The standings were shaken up as several racers with early start numbers took advantage of the situation and made big jumps in the standings. Canada’s Marie-Michele Gagnon leapt from 23rd to seventh place with the fastest second run time and France’s Coralie Frasse Sombet jumped from 30th to 11th place. Worley and Rebensburg swapped their first run positions as mere hundredths of a second were separating racers at the top of the standings. Shiffrin managed to ski with conviction through the heavy snowfall and hung on to her first run advantage, crossing the finish with a slim 0.15 second margin of victory.
“It was a big fight,” Shiffrin explained in the finish. “There’s so much snow coming down. I could feel my skis in the track speeding up and kind of coming out and slowing down, so I was like, ‘Oh, this isn’t good, it’s gotta be slow.’ So I kept fighting and fighting. It was cool. It’s two victories, but in the same place. It’d be nice to repeat it at a new venue, but it’s definitely nice to feel like I can ski free for four runs in a row.”
Worley now leads the giant slalom standings by 35 points over Shiffrin and had to fight harder than she might have felt comfortable doing in the bad visibility, but was satisfied nonetheless with another podium appearance.
“It was really, really tough,” Worley explained. “I wasn’t controlling anything, I was just trying to go down and stay on my feet and I was pretty surprised that I lit the green light at the end. Happy with the second podium but really disappointed with the conditions today. It was really tough. I couldn’t push as hard as I would have done if the visibility would have been better, but you still have to push even though you don’t control anything.”
For Rebensburg, Wednesday marks her first podium appearance since winning the final GS of last season in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Rebensburg suffered an undisplaced tibial fracture in early October and has been working to return to form ever since.
“It was for sure really important,” she said of her result. “I was fighting hard after my injury to find my way back, and we kept working pretty hard and now I think it’s kind of the result, but it’s not actually where I want to be because I want to be on top again, but for sure it’s a good start.”
Day two in Semmering was not any easier for Americans Megan McJames and Resi Stiegler as both failed to qualify for the second run.
After a spectacular crash in Tuesday’s race, Sweden’s Maria Pietilae-Holmner underwent an MRI that revealed partially damaged ligaments as well as a small bone bruise. Although her diagnosis is not as bad as was initially feared and will not require surgery, the Swede is expected miss six to eight weeks before she can get back on skis.
The women finish their series in Semmering with a slalom on Thursday.
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- Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Tessa Worley (FRA) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
- Viktoria Rebensburg (GER) – Stoeckli/Lange/Marker
- Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR) – Head/Head/Head
- Stephanie Brunner (AUT) – Head/Head/Head
- Lara Gut (SUI) – Head/Head/Head
- Marie-Michele Gagnon (CAN) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
- Manuela Moelgg (ITA) – Dynastar/Lange/Look
- Federica Brignnone (ITA) – Rossignol/Lange/Look
- Ricarda Haaser (AUT) – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points|
|11||28||197124||FRASSE SOMBET Coralie||1991||FRA||1:03.05||1:07.59||2:10.64||+1.24||9.39|
|20||21||197319||BAUD MUGNIER Adeline||1992||FRA||1:01.90||1:09.67||2:11.57||+2.17||16.43|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|