FLACHAU, Austria – Trailing first-run leader Ana Drev by a mere 0.02 seconds, Viktoria Rebensburg pushed the limits in the second run to claim her first win of the season in a combined time of 2:29.51.
“It’s a pretty good feeling,” said Rebensburg. “I mean this is always for sure the best feeling, being up on the podium. Yeah, and I think today everything was putting well together.”
The second run started under sunny conditions but snow came back as the afternoon went on, making the visibility tougher for the last 15 racers.
“For sure, it was not so easy in the second run with the conditions, but yeah, in the end it worked out,” Rebensburg added. “For sure, my feeling wasn’t also the best and I was not sure if it was fast or not, but yeah, when I came down here I saw nine tenths, so everything was working kind of good, so I’m pretty happy and really satisfied and proud.”
Slovenia’s Ana Drev held her nerve and raced to her first World Cup podium, finishing second, 0.94 seconds off the pace. The 30-year-old already led the first run in Lienz giant slalom, but she slid off the course in the second run.
“I almost can’t believe it because I’ve been on the World Cup for such a long time and sometimes I didn’t believe any more that I could succeed, so I’m really happy,” said a smiling Drev.
Drev’s career-best result was a seventh place in Courchevel last December before today’s result.
“I’ve been skiing now for three years pretty okay, just I get some injuries and a lot of pain and this season actually I’m skiing without all this stuff and it makes it so much fun and that’s why I’m much better,” Drev added.
Italy’s Federica Brignone rounded out the podium, 0.99 seconds out. The 25-year-old was eager to finish in the top 3 again after skiing out in the second run in Courchevel and a fifth place in Lienz.
“I’m pretty happy for today because it was a tough race,” confessed Brignone. “During the second run, the weather changed and I was a little bit stressed at the beginning. I said ‘Yeah, I can see nothing.’ I had to change my goggles and just try to push harder.”
“I don’t really care about the weather when I’m racing,” Brignone continued. “I just try to push and ski fast, but I felt awful. I felt like I was making mistakes all the way and yeah, I was just telling me ‘Push, push’ and ‘not turn’ or ‘go faster’ ‘cause I felt really really slow. Then I heard about – I don’t know if you were the speaker at the moment, or I don’t know – I heard like “Ah, mistakes,” and I said, “Yeah, I’m doing mistakes. I have to go” But, yeah, I just tried to push harder and when I saw the green light I was really like “Wow.’”
Fourth after the first run, Swiss skier Lara Gut made a mistake in the lower part of the course where many racers struggled and had to be content with 19th place. She still extends her overall lead as Lindsey Vonn failed to finish the second run. The Olympic downhill bronze medallist has now 750 points, 50 more than Vonn.
The World Cup tour will now shift to Cortina d’Ampezzo (ITA) for a week of speed events starting on Thursday with the first downhill training.