Gut continues last season’s dominance with Soelden win
Lara Gut started the season with a statement: she’s not resting on her laurels. The Swiss star, who won the World Cup overall title last season, dominated the women’s field by over a second to take the first victory of the new winter in the giant slalom at Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 22.
“It’s always special in Soelden, and you know it’s my first time coming as an [overall] winner,” Gut said. “I had a tough time this morning, I was just thinking all the time today – like Marcel [Hirscher] told me yesterday just to ski. My team exactly told me the same. So I tried just not to think and ski.”
Her winning margin – 1.44 seconds – was reminiscent of the margins fans saw in slalom races that Mikaela Shiffrin dominated last season. The Swiss skier said that once she decided to enjoy the blue bird day, she was able to get out of her own head and just ski.
“I’m happy I had a fast first run because the second run was just a fight,” Gut said after her victory.
The U.S. Ski Team’s Shiffrin did not disappoint fans either, repeating her performance from last year’s World Cup opener by earning second place.
“I definitely like second,” Shiffrin said. “I like first better, but it is nice to start off on this foot and it was really a tough day for a lot of girls, I think. Lara was the only one who really skied as hard as she could, and I’m happy with where I’m at. I took more risks than I ever have in a GS, but I can do better.”
The American explained that the conditions were perfect – “grippy, but hard” as she put it, adding that even when she ran 29th on the second run, conditions held up well.
“It’s the kind of conditions that gave me a shot to podium,” Shiffrin shared.
Nearly half a second behind her was 20-year-old Marta Bassino, who earned her first career World Cup podium. The Italian was 1.93 seconds off of Gut’s pace, finishing in third.
“I’m so excited, and it’s the first podium,” Bassino said. “I’m so happy. It’s like a dream.”
Off the podium, Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova was able to take advantage of the conditions, making an impressive move from bib 55 to eighth place in the final results. Last year’s Soelden winner, Federica Brignone, barely squeaked into the top 10, finishing in ninth.
Notably absent from the top 10 was last year’s giant slalom globe winner, Eva-Maria Brem, who finished in 26th place. Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather, the third-place finisher in 2015, ended the day in 15th place. Austria’s Anna Veith and Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg did not start the race as they continue to recover from their respective injuries.
Aside from Shiffrin, only one other American pushed out of the start gate on Saturday. Independent skier Megan McJames earned her spot by winning the NorAm title last year, and says despite her performance on the Rettenbach glacier, she’s feeling fine heading into the rest of the season.
“I’m feeling good on my skis and training is going well, so I just have to bring it up to the World Cup. And the challenge for me is to have enough resources and support when I’m at big races like this, and so that’s what I’m working on,” she explained.
Action continues tomorrow from Soelden with the men’s giant slalom, kicking off at 10 a.m. CET/4 a.m. EST. Information on NBC Sports coverage in the U.S. is available here.
Fans can stay up to date on World Cup news by downloading the U.S. Ski Team – Ski Racing app for iOS and Android.
Top 10 Finishers
- Lara Gut (SUI) – Head / Head / Head
- Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) – Atomic / Atomic / Atomic
- Marta Bassino (ITA) – Salomon / Salomon / Salomon
- Stephanie Brunner (AUT) – Head / Head / Head
- Sofia Goggia (ITA) – Atomic / Atomic / Atomic
- Tessa Worley (FRA) – Rossignol / Rossignol / Rossignol
- Michaela Kirchgasser (AUT) – Atomic / Atomic / Atomic
- Petra Vlhova – Rossignol / Rossignol / Look
- Federica Brignone (ITA) – Rossignol / Rossignol / Rossignol
- Ana Drev (SLO) – Volkl / Dalbello / Marker
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points|
|11||30||197124||FRASSE SOMBET Coralie||1991||FRA||1:13.54||1:13.03||2:26.57||+3.55||24.33|
|Disqualified 2nd run|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|19||197319||BAUD MUGNIER Adeline||1992||FRA|
|Did not finish 1st run|