Val d’Isere, France – Calling it the best day of her career, Olympic champion, World champion, and 2014 and 2015 World Cup overall globe winner Anna Veith of Austria won the Sunday super-G in Val d’Isere, France, marking her first victory in nearly three years after sustaining a serious knee injury just before the start of the 2015/16 season.
The last victory for this overall contender was at the Meribel giant slalom during Finals in March of 2015. She suffered a season-ending knee injury while training for the Soelden 2015 season opener and has fought her way through setbacks ever since. Almost tearing up on the podium, Veith had an emotional reaction to her 15th career World Cup victory.
Despite a hard crash in Saturday’s race that resulted in a hand injury, Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein claimed her fourth podium of the season in second place, 0.48 seconds shy of Veith’s pace. Although she ended the day with a celebration, she remarked that she will not start in the Courchevel giant slalom on Tuesday in order to give her hand injury time to heal. She hopes to return in time for the Lienz race at the end of December following the holiday break.
Italy’s Sofia Goggia turned her luck around with a second podium finish in as many days after starting off the season with frustrating results. Goggia finished a close third at 0.51 seconds from the lead, moving into second place in the super-G standings (tied with Michelle Gisin).
Saturday’s race winner Lindsey Vonn decided not to start on Sunday, citing a sore knee and the need to prioritize her health for the Olympic Winter Games.
The ladies’ tour now moves on to nearby Courchevel, where a giant slalom will be contested on Tuesday during the day and a night individual parallel slalom – a new format for the tour – will debut on Wednesday.
Hirscher dominates the giant slalom in Alta Badia
For the 5th time in a row, Marcel Hirscher celebrated a giant slalom win on the Gran Risa in Alta Badia. Henrik Kristoffersen finished second, and Zan Kranjec from Slovenia claimed his first ever World Cup podium.
The Austrian 6-times Overall winner Marcel Hirscher is undoubtedly the strongest giant slalom athlete at the moment! Not only did he win this race with -1.70 on his closest rival, but he also was on the podium in the 12 last giant slalom races (world cup and world championships) and won 7 of them. But with this 24th GS win in career, Marcel Hirscher is also equaling Ted Ligety’s mark of the second most wins in that discipline, trailing Stenmark with 46 wins. The statistics are also pretty impressive considering the races in Alta Badia, as Hirscher just won his fifth successive win in the South Tyrolean resort.
In second place, Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen proves that he can be constant at a very high level in giant slalom as well this season. After a second place in Beaver Creek, and a 5th place in Val d’Isère, the slalom whiz is now pointing at the 2nd place, 54 points ahead of Alexis Pinturault. The slalom whiz also hopes to grab some points tomorrow in the Parallel Giant Slaloms, even though he never did better than 9th place in an individual parallel event so far.
The sensation of the day came from Zan Kranjec. The 25 years young Slovenian claimed his first World Cup podium today in Alta Badia. Already last year, Kranjec was knocking on the podiums door as he finished 4th on the Gran Risa. Also in Sölden he was able to ski in 4th position. But today everything came together and Zan Kranjec score what could be the first podium of a long serie in this discipline. It’s a big step for him, but also for his nation Slovenia. The last Slovenian to earn a podium placement in giant slalom was Uros Pavlovic back in 2001 in Kranjska Gora.
‘It will come’ podium arrives in Val d’Isere
The ladies’ Audi FIS Alpine World Cup tour endured two canceled races in St. Moritz last weekend and two canceled training runs in Val d’Isere this week. Speed Queen Lindsey Vonn was in the midst of an 11-month winning drought, last season’s Italian standout Sofia Goggia had yet to crack the top five this winter, and Norwegian Ragnhild Mowinckel had 16 top-10 finishes but had yet to stand on a World Cup podium.
They say patience is a virtue, and it proved to be so for the three athletes who would lead the day in the rescheduled St. Moritz super-G held at Val d’Isere.
During Friday night’s bib draw in the center of town, Goggia was asked by the announcer if she was getting frustrated with her results so far this season.
“It will come,” Goggia replied, so matter-of-factly that it was hard to ignore.
Skiing from a lowered start due to additional snowfall on the race slope, Vonn set the leading pace to claim her 78th career World Cup victory. Goggia followed closely in second place at 0.31 seconds back, and Mowinckel snagged her career-first podium in third at 0.39 seconds off the lead.