Mikaela Shiffrin maintained her perfect record in super-G races entered in the 2018/19 season on Sunday as she claimed her third victory in the discipline at Cortina d’Ampezzo (ITA). The World Cup Overall leader skipped the Val Gardena/Gröden race but has accumulated 300 points in all other super-Gs contested thus far and holds the discipline standings lead as well.
The American bested Tina Weirather by 0.16 seconds as the Liechtensteiner picked up her third podium finish of the winter. Austria’s Tamara Tippler, who last stood on a World Cup podium in 2016, rounded out the top three in third place.
Sunshine and ideal racing weather greeted the skiers, but many big names encountered difficulty on the track and did not complete the run. There were several locations along the course that dashed the efforts of Ilka Stuhec, Lara Gut-Behrami, Lindsey Vonn, Ramona Siebenhofer, Michelle Gisin, and a number of others. Kajsa Vickhoff Lie made the most noteworthy move of the day from bib 35 into a tie for seventh place with her teammate Ragnhild Mowinckel – a career-best result and first top 10 for the young Norwegian born in 1998. Canadian Valerie Grenier also skied to a career-best finish in fourth place, just 0.30 seconds from the podium.
Lindsey Vonn ended up off course after carrying a low line and punching through a panel. She was emotional in the finish area and told reporters that this might have been her final World Cup race due to the pain she currently has while skiing.
The ladies’ tour moves on to Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER) for more speed races 26-27th January 2019.
Clement Noel earns first career World Cup win
France’s Clement Noel is having a great start to 2019. After earning his first career podium, taking second place in last week’s Adelboden slalom, he followed up with his first career victory today in the Wengen slalom, relegating the Austrian duo of Manuel Feller and Marcel Hirscher to the lower steps on the podium.
The 21 year-old Frenchman led the field after the first run 0.47 ahead of Feller. Hirscher had an uncharacteristic showing in the first run, ending nearly a second off the winning pace.
But when the second run arrived, the Austrians were back on their game, and looked poised to take the nation’s seventh straight men’s World Cup victory. Hirscher was back in top form, skiing the fastest second run of all competitors and taking over the lead. But two racers later Feller eked out his teammate by a mere 0.02 seconds to take the lead.
Only the young sensation Noel remained at the top of the hill and his lead shrunk slowly at each interval, but when he crossed the finish line, he could ultimately celebrate his first Audi FIS World Cup victory by a slim 0.08 margin.
Noel’s win left Feller still looking for his first career World Cup victory. It also halted the Austrian team’s 2019 winning streak at six and ended Hirscher’s current streak of three consecutive victories.
Kriechmayr king of 2019 Lauberhorn
Austrian Vincent Kriechmayr played the role of the spoiler in today’s downhill race in Wengen (SUI), edging Swiss hero Beat Feuz by a mere 0.14 seconds to claim his first downhill victory of the 2018-19 Audi FIS World Cup season.
Third place went to Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, who continued to build his reputation as the up-and-coming Attacking Viking. Coming down with bib 17, he finished just 0.26 off the winning pace, knocking teammate Aksel Lund Svindal off the podium and into fourth place on the day.
Mother Nature could not have dished up a better day for today’s downhill as sunny skies and crisp temperatures greeted the racers. 37,000 fans flocked to the small Swiss village lining much of famed Lauberhorn, the longest course on the World Cup tour.
The fans were quickly rewarded for their journey when Feuz came down as the fifth racer and took a commanding lead after an excellent run. But the joy would only last for five minutes until Kreichmayr crossed the finish line two racers later and took over the lead. It was only when Kilde raced with blistering speed through the narrow Kernen-S curve that Kriechmayr had reason to be concerned, but on the last interval, Kilde lost time and skied into third place.
It was Kriechmayr’s fourth career World Cup victory and his ninth overall podium. More importantly, his victory today kept the Austrian men’s dominance since the calendar turned to 2019 alive as the nation has grabbed every victory in the New Year.
While Feuz barely missed his chance to grab his third victory in Wengen, he can still say that the Berner Oberland resort has treated him well during his career as it was his fifth podium here.