Federica Brignone has not stood on a World Cup podium since the final GS of 2016-17 when she won at Aspen, Colo., but she ended the drought with a win in the giant slalom at Lienz, Austria, on Dec. 29. Her victory was by a narrow margin, 0.04 seconds over second-place finisher Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany and 0.08 seconds over third-place finisher Mikaela Shiffrin of the U.S.

“Today, I’m so happy,” the Italian said. “I didn’t expect to win today, for sure, but I wanted to be good and maybe come back on the podium. We were so close. I have to say that I’m lucky, too, because I mean Mikaela and Vicky, they are really, really close to me, but that was the first run, too. I think that’s a tough race.”

The win marks an important moment in Brignone’s comeback. The Italian skipped the World Cup opener in Soelden after suffering an adductor injury during summer training in South America and returned to racing in late November at Killington, Vt. The injury did not require surgery, but she did do extensive physical therapy to recover. The injury is reportedly still bothering her.

“I’m not 100 percent, and I’m not healthy, not still, but it’s going better and better,” Brignone said.

While Rebensburg was not able to secure her third win of the season after losing time on the second run, she did regain the red leader bib from Mikaela Shiffrin. The American may have a nearly 400-point lead in the overall standings over the German, but the GS standings are neck-in-neck. France’s Tessa Worley and Italy’s Manuela Moelgg are also within striking distance of the red GS bib under the right circumstances.

“In the end, a pretty good day, for sure. With my second place, I’m quite happy with it,” the German shared.  “It was really tight, so the first time, when you’re in the finish, for sure, your thoughts go a bit about those four hundredths, but in the end, I’m really, really happy about it that I could manage to bring everything down more or less good.”

Viktoria Rebensburg (GER), Federica Brignone (ITA) and Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) celebrate on the podium. Photo: GEPA/ Matic Klansek

Watching the second run, it was easy to see that time was lost on the bottom split. The course opened up a bit and athletes who let their skis run made up quite a bit of time. The course also sat in shadows and the track, as Shiffrin shared, was bumpy.

“It was dark,” Shiffrin said. “I actually felt pretty good with the surface. It’s a little bumpy here and there, but it was okay. It was tough in just a couple spots that were really important and otherwise, I had a lot of fun skiing it actually.”

While the American is always looking for the win, earning her 53rd World Cup podium is nothing to laugh at. The American has been on the podium in all, but three World Cup races she started this season.

“For sure, I’m really happy with my performance over the two days, but it always stings a little bit when you think, ‘Ah, third place. Eight hundredths from the lead or four hundredths from second place,’” she said. “It’s really close, but it means it’s a good competition for the women, and that’s really exciting for us. It’s exciting for the fans, and I definitely was attacking on the second run even more than the first run, so I can be happy with that.”

Shiffrin and the rest of the tech athletes are entering a particularly busy stretch of the season, which continues in Oslo, Norway, for the city event on Jan. 1 followed by the slalom in Zagreb, Croatia. It will be a challenge for multi-event skiers like the American to keep their energy levels high.

“It’s really busy now,” Shiffrin said. “I mean I had two days off before we came into these races, and I sort of thought, ‘Those are my days off for the next two or three weeks!’ Yeah, we all saw the schedule this year, and we know that it’s going to be busy now, so there’s not a lot of time for rest, but I’m, for sure, motivated for these races. I’m excited.”

Off the podium, there were a few other notable performances particularly from Slovenian athletes. Meta Hrovat came from bib 31 to finish in eighth place–her first top 10 World Cup finish. Her teammate Tina Robnik had a smoking fast first run that moved her from bib 23 into third position. She, unfortunately, lost momentum on the second run, finishing the day in 11th place.

“In the first run, the result really surprised me,” Robnik said. “…This is proof that I am able to get to the top and gives me additional self-confidence in the future. ”

Slovenia’s Ana Drev also had a solid day, earning a sixth-place result, just 0.53 seconds away from the win.

In addition to Shiffrin, the Americans were represented by Patricia Mangan, who did not qualify for a second run, and AJ Hurt, who did not finish the first run.

AJ Hurt (USA) skis in the second World Cup of her young career. // Photo: GEPA / Daniel Goetzhaber

Hurt comes from Squaw Valley, Calif. Born in 2000, she was the second youngest athlete on the start list, and U.S. Ski Team coaches decided to give Hurt her second World Cup start after she earned two top-5 finishes in the Panorama GS races earlier in December. The young American is currently second in the NorAm GS standings, 76 points ahead of next-best American and World Cup regular Megan McJames.

The World Cup athletes will kick off 2018 with the city event in Oslo, Norway, on Jan. 1.


Top 10

1. Federica Brignone (ITA) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
2. Viktoria Rebensburg (GER) – Stoeckli / Lange Marker
3. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4. Tessa Worley (FRA) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
5. Stephanie Brunner (AUT) –  Head / Head / Head
6. Ana Drev (SLO) – Voelkl/Dalbello/Marker
7. Petra Vlhova (SVK) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
8. Meta Hrovat (SLO) –  Stoeckli / Lange Marker
9. Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR) –  Head / Head / Head
10. Lara Gut (SUI) –  Head / Head / Head


Official Results

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time Diff. FIS Points WC Points
 1  3  297601 BRIGNONE Federica 1990 ITA  1:02.93  1:02.59  2:05.52  0.00  100
 2  7  205218 REBENSBURG Viktoria 1989 GER  1:02.76  1:02.80  2:05.56  +0.04  0.31  80
 3  1  6535237 SHIFFRIN Mikaela 1995 USA  1:02.81  1:02.79  2:05.60  +0.08  0.62  60
 4  4  196928 WORLEY Tessa 1989 FRA  1:03.02  1:02.76  2:05.78  +0.26  2.03  50
 5  11  56217 BRUNNER Stephanie 1994 AUT  1:03.22  1:02.63  2:05.85  +0.33  2.58  45
 6  10  565268 DREV Ana 1985 SLO  1:03.04  1:03.01  2:06.05  +0.53  4.14  40
 7  14  705423 VLHOVA Petra 1995 SVK  1:03.82  1:02.30  2:06.12  +0.60  4.68  36
 8  31  565471 HROVAT Meta 1998 SLO  1:03.67  1:02.58  2:06.25  +0.73  5.70  32
 9  15  425929 MOWINCKEL Ragnhild 1992 NOR  1:03.50  1:03.19  2:06.69  +1.17  9.13  29
 10  8  516138 GUT Lara 1991 SUI  1:03.54  1:03.22  2:06.76  +1.24  9.68  26
 11  23  565373 ROBNIK Tina 1991 SLO  1:02.88  1:04.05  2:06.93  +1.41  11.01  24
 12  27  56199 KAPPAURER Elisabeth 1994 AUT  1:04.20  1:02.90  2:07.10  +1.58  12.34  22
 13  6  296259 MOELGG Manuela 1983 ITA  1:03.89  1:03.24  2:07.13  +1.61  12.57  20
 14  18  506399 HECTOR Sara 1992 SWE  1:05.11  1:02.08  2:07.19  +1.67  13.04  18
 15  47  197616 ALPHAND Estelle 1995 SWE  1:04.44  1:02.84  2:07.28  +1.76  13.74  16
 16  5  298323 GOGGIA Sofia 1992 ITA  1:02.95  1:04.35  2:07.30  +1.78  13.90  15
 17  28  426187 LYSDAHL Kristin 1996 NOR  1:04.69  1:02.64  2:07.33  +1.81  14.13  14
 18  24  56174 HAASER Ricarda 1993 AUT  1:04.67  1:02.85  2:07.52  +2.00  15.62  13
 19  16  516280 HOLDENER Wendy 1993 SUI  1:04.07  1:03.51  2:07.58  +2.06  16.08  12
 20  25  56032 SCHILD Bernadette 1990 AUT  1:04.81  1:02.84  2:07.65  +2.13  16.63  11
 21  32  55947 VEITH Anna 1989 AUT  1:04.81  1:02.99  2:07.80  +2.28  17.80  10
 22  13  425771 HAVER-LOESETH Nina 1989 NOR  1:04.35  1:03.50  2:07.85  +2.33  18.19  9
 23  21  197124 FRASSE SOMBET Coralie 1991 FRA  1:04.49  1:03.37  2:07.86  +2.34  18.27  8
 24  30  225525 TILLEY Alex 1993 GBR  1:04.16  1:03.71  2:07.87  +2.35  18.35  7
 25  22  296509 CURTONI Irene 1985 ITA  1:04.78  1:03.12  2:07.90  +2.38  18.58  6
 26  9  516528 MEILLARD Melanie 1998 SUI  1:04.61  1:03.32  2:07.93  +2.41  18.82  5
 27  41  516407 KASPER Vanessa 1996 SUI  1:04.94  1:03.06  2:08.00  +2.48  19.36  4
 28  39  197651 DIREZ Clara 1995 FRA  1:05.02  1:03.07  2:08.09  +2.57  20.07  3
 29  17  505679 HANSDOTTER Frida 1985 SWE  1:04.11  1:04.02  2:08.13  +2.61  20.38  2
Did not finish 2nd run
 2  299276 BASSINO Marta 1996 ITA  1:03.28  0
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 64  715171 MUZAFERIJA Elvedina 1999 BIH  1:09.82  0
 63  299383 MELESI Roberta 1996 ITA  1:06.17  0
 62  565491 DVORNIK Neja 2001 SLO  1:08.01  0
 61  665009 SHKANOVA Maria 1989 BLR  1:07.72  0
 60  56282 RESCH Stephanie 1995 AUT  1:05.53  0
 59  485973 SILANTEVA Anastasiia 1998 RUS  1:08.42  0
 55  299388 BERTANI Luisa Matilde Maria 1996 ITA  1:05.77  0
 54  506664 FJAELLSTROEM Magdalena 1995 SWE  1:06.13  0
 53  506348 STAALNACKE Ylva 1992 SWE  1:06.16  0
 52  435334 GASIENICA-DANIEL Maryna 1994 POL  1:05.43  0
 49  565401 BUCIK Ana 1993 SLO  1:05.89  0
 46  6535765 MANGAN Patricia 1997 USA  1:06.46  0
 45  425921 HAUGEN Kristine Gjelsten 1992 NOR  1:05.16  0
 44  107747 SMART Amelia 1998 CAN  1:05.99  0
 43  206487 WIESLER Maren 1993 GER  1:06.18  0
 42  55977 THALMANN Carmen 1989 AUT  1:06.52  0
 40  56388 LIENSBERGER Katharina 1997 AUT  1:05.36  0
 38  385096 POPOVIC Leona 1997 CRO  1:05.50  0
 36  405138 JELINKOVA Adriana 1995 NED  1:05.15  0
 33  355061 HILZINGER Jessica 1997 GER  1:06.59  0
 26  56315 TRUPPE Katharina 1996 AUT  1:05.25  0
 19  516268 WILD Simone 1993 SUI  1:05.98  0
 12  55898 BREM Eva-Maria 1988 AUT  1:05.81  0
Did not finish 1st run
 65  785007 JANUSKEVICIUTE Ieva 1994 LTU  0
 58  206759 HIRTL-STANGGASSINGER Katrin 1998 GER  0
 57  516344 KOPP Rahel 1994 SUI  0
 56  155699 PAULATHOVA Katerina 1993 CZE  0
 51  197215 MASSIOS Marie 1992 FRA  0
 50  516394 SUTER Jasmina 1995 SUI  0
 48  107613 GRENIER Valerie 1996 CAN  0
 37  107532 TOMMY Mikaela 1995 CAN  0
 35  6536392 HURT A J 2000 USA  0
 34  426100 HOLTMANN Mina Fuerst 1995 NOR  0
 29  196725 BARIOZ Taina 1988 FRA  0
 20  197319 BAUD MUGNIER Adeline 1992 FRA  0
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Gabbi Hall
Digital Content Editor
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A California native, Gabbi moved to Vermont to ski on the NCAA circuit for St. Michael’s College, where she served as team captain and studied journalism. Before joining Ski Racing, she worked as a broadcast TV producer and social media manager in higher education. She can be reached via email at gabbi@skiracing.com
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