Soldeu-El Tarter, Andorra – It was a battle against nature today for the ladies’ Audi FIS World Cup super-G race in Grandvalira as the racers had to fight heavy snow and winds after waiting through a three-hour delay. In the end, Federica Brignone (ITA) came away with the victory, topping Laurenne Ross (USA) by 0.13 seconds.
It was the fifth podium for Brignone this season, but her first career podium in super-G.
“It’s incredible today,” Brignone said. “I just can’t believe it, and it’s crazy. I know this was a tough race. It was not the best conditions for the best racers, the top 7, but then I took advantage of my luck and I just skied my best and tried to push. I knew it was just one minute of super G, so I tried to push every single turn.”
“Actually, when I went down it was really good,” Brignone continued. “You must not to go outside the race line because the snow was a little bit soft. In the last part, if you were going a little bit wide, you were kind of slowed down. A part from the top section, itt was so good for me because it was just steep and technical.”
For Ross, the second place was an equally impressive mark on her career standings as it was just her second-ever World Cup podium. Rounding out the surprise top-three was Austrian Tamara Tippler, who also celebrated her second career podium finish.
“My skiing has been improving and I got on the lucky side of things today and I took advantage of it, and I’m really happy,” Ross explained. “I mean, it’s an outdoor sport. It’s very rarely perfectly fair, but yeah, it started snowing pretty hard in the middle of the race and that definitely created some slow surfaces for the girls behind, but I mean that’s ski racing and if you’re on the good side of it, you have to take advantage of it and if you’re on the bad side, then just hope for the best next time.”
All eyes were on the ongoing duel between American Lindsey Vonn and Lara Gut (SUI), who have been going toe-to-toe all season in the fight for the Overall World Cup title. But that fight took an unfortunate turn, when Vonn, racing with Bib 16 seemed to lean too far into a turn and slid into the fencing. Although the crash didn’t look serious at first glance, Vonn stayed down and had to be taken off the course by medical personnel. No immediate update on her medical condition was available.
Gut came down as the next racer after the delay to evacuate Vonn and skied a conservative run, finishing 16th, 1.15 seconds off the winning pace, but still picking up valuable World Cup points.
Today’s effort returned the Overall World Cup lead to Gut, and depending on the news from the American camp, it could stay that way if Vonn is unable to make a speedy return to action with only a handful of races left in the season before the season finals in St. Moritz. The third-placed skier in the hunt for the Overall title, Viktoria Rebensburg (GER), is well behind Gut and Vonn in the current standings.
Gut still trails Vonn in the super-G season ranks, as the pair also sits in first and second place in the hunt for the small globe. Vonn leads 420 to 356, with two super-G races remaining.
In the overall standings, Vonn still holds an 8-point lead ahead of Gut.
Tomorrow, action continues for the ladies’ tour in Soldeu with the alpine combined scheduled to begin at 10:30 CET.