The weather, course conditions and start were all different for the second day of giant slalom racing in Are, Sweden Friday — but the result atop the podium was the same.
Anna Fenninger picked up her second World Cup GS victory in as many days (third in a row) in rainy, slushy, variable conditions. Anemone Marmottan and Tina Maze had been in striking distance after the first run, but neither was able to finish their second run, solidifying results for Olympic bronze medalist Viktoria Rebensburg and current leader in the GS standings Jessica Lindell-Vikarby, who rounded out the podium in second and third, respectively. Fenninger finished with a combined time of 2 minutes, 0.15 seconds, expanding her lead in the second run.
For the host nation’s Lindell-Vikarby, it was a much-needed podium result in the wake of a sixth-place finish on Thursday, which dramatically closed the gap between her and Fenninger in the GS standings.
With only the World Cup Finals remaining on the calendar after this weekend, there’s no doubt Fenninger skis off as the big winner in Are. The Austrian gold and silver medalist in Sochi nearly squared the GS points race, which now sits 432-418, with the slight advantage to Lindell-Vikarby. On Friday, Fenninger also claimed the lead over Maria Hoefl-Riesch in the overall standings.
“It’s just amazing. It was a fight in the second run and not really easy with the bumps, but I am so happy that I can win two times here in Are,” said Fenninger. “We have so much conditions like this with the soft slope, and I know how it is. It’s difficult, but I like it.”
It’s currently a slim, seven-point advantage for Fenninger over Hoefl-Riesch in the overall. On paper, the slight edge has to go to the German with two slaloms remaining on the schedule. Hoefl-Riesch is a podium threat in the event, while Fenninger has not raced slalom since 2011 and is not expected to strap on the shin guards anytime soon.
However, Hoefl-Riesch, skiing perhaps the most demanding schedule of any World Cup athlete this season, has appeared wiped-out in these Are GS races. The 29-year-old, who won an overall globe in 2011, was able to actually capitalize on an abysmal first run Friday to take advantage of better course conditions in the flip. She was fortunate to have ultimately finished 10th on the day and to pick up 26 points toward the overall.
It was a second uneventful day for the Americans as Julia Mancuso and Mikaela Shiffrin skied to 20th and 24th, respectively. Shiffrin ran an uncharacteristically low, late line, even sliding outside the track on a few turns. For the 18-year-old, her finishes in Are this weekend represent by far her worst giant slalom results of the season — other than a DNF in St. Moritz, she hadn’t finished outside the top 10 until Are.
“Both first runs yesterday and today were actually really good. I just made a huge mistake in each,” said Shiffrin. “In the second runs, I was just slow. So, I’m just hoping that I can get it under control so I ski fast and mistake-free. Then, I can ski fast both runs.
“I’ve been feeling pretty good since the Olympics,” added the slalom gold medalist. “I took a little bit of a break. I went to New York for some media, then came back and had a couple days off and then did some training. My slalom feels good and feels comfortable to me, so I’m excited to get back on my skis.”
For Mancuso, who is not in contention for a globe and earlier this season stated the Olympics, not the World Cup, would be her focus, the beach may be calling her name. Meanwhile, Canadian Marie-Michele Gagnon, fighting back from a dislocated shoulder in Sochi, skied to her worst GS finish of the winter — she was 25th — after an encouraging performance in Thursday’s event.
RESULTS — Women’s GS, Are, Sweden
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points|
|Did not start 1st run|
|57||425880||SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth||1991||NOR|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|