Under the sun in Crans-Montana, Federica Brignone continued her winning streak at the Swiss venue’s Alpine combined, where she also won in February of 2017 and March of 2018. Another win has been long awaited by the Italian after a season full of ups and downs. This summer she took 45 days off to recover from a knee injury, then charged into the first two races of the season, taking second in the Soelden giant slalom and first in the Killington giant slalom. Since then, she’s come close to the podium but hasn’t quite been able to break into the top three.
After the downhill in Garmisch, Brignone further injured her left knee and was unsure if she would be able to continue onward for the rest of the season. But the swelling and distortion of the knee were contained after a few sessions of physiotherapy and Brignone marched onwards.
“I have to do more and I have to do my best, it’s the only way that I can win,” said Brignone. “I’m always motivated. I have a lot of energy, I love to race and I love to train. After World Champs when I realized there was just four weeks to go [in the season] I thought, ‘no! There’s still so many races that I want to do.’ I want to do more because I want to reach more.”
Canada’s Roni Remme threw down the fastest slalom run of the day, pulling out her first ever podium on the World Cup, 0.38 seconds off of Brignone. Remme was the only woman to come within a second of Brignone’s combined time. Previously, an eighth-place finish in the Semmering slalom was a career-best on the World Cup for the 23-year-old, although she has consistently finished in the top 30 for the entirety of the season. In Are, Remme continued to push closer to the podium and spent a majority of the alpine combined in the leader’s chair after her slalom run before landing in fifth overall.
“That was a shocking moment,” said Remme. “There, I didn’t have the run that I wanted in the downhill so I started the slalom very early and sat in the leader’s chair for a while, and got pretty nervous. Then some teammates started saying, ‘you might do it, you might hit the podium”. And I think it was at that point where I thought ‘maybe I could do this.'”
Remme has been skiing at the university level and on the World Cup for the past three years, hopping back and forth between skiing and studying at the University of Utah and working with the Canadian team at the national level. She has one more year of school and juggling a loaded ski season and until she graduates.
Wendy Holdener led the Swiss women in a strong performance finishing in third. Her teammate, Rahel Kopp skied a career-best fourth, followed by Priska Nufer in eighth to give Switzerland three top ten finishes on home soil. Holdener had been the crowd favorite to win, after she won her second world title in the ladies’ Alpine combined at World Championships in Are, Sweden a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, Holdener couldn’t crack her third-place podium streak on the World Cup tour. She remains the World Cup record holder for most podiums without a win but ranks third in the current overall standings.
“I’m really looking forward to a few days off because I still have goals and I still want to be fast and show my best skiing. For sure, I wanted the win but after the finish line, I knew it wasn’t enough. If Federica skis good enough then it’s not enough,” said Holdener. “I’m really happy with myself because I gave the best, and today it wasn’t enough for the win. But still my first podium in Alpine combined here in Crans-Montana and it’s a step forward.”
Additional notable performances came from Austria’s Nina Ortlieb, finishing third in the downhill run after starting in bib 24, although she was not able to hang on to a top ten finish after the slalom. After her downhill run, American Alice Merryweather sat in 12th, but also struggled in the slalom and ended the race 29th overall.
The alpine combined held in Crans-Montana will be the only combined event contested on the World Cup tour in the 2018/19 season. Since the FIS requires two races to occur in order to award a discipline globe, there will be no overall title awarded in the combined for the women. Originally, a second event had been scheduled in Val d’Isere but was cancelled due to weather and unable to be rescheduled. In 2019/2020 season, the FIS hopes to have four or five Alpine combined stops scheduled into the tour rather than two.
Next stop on the women’s tour falls in Sochi, Russia for downhill and super-G races that will take place over the March 2-3rd weekend.
- Federica Brignone (ITA): 2:15.20 – Rossignol/Look/Lange
- Roni Remme (CAN): +0.38 – Head/Head/Head
- Wendy Holdener (SUI): +1.04 – Head/Head/Head
- Rahel Kopp (SUI): +1.54 – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
- Patrizia Dorsch (GER): +1.81 – Stoeckli/Lange
- Christina Ager (AUT): +1.83 – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Romane Miradoli (FRA): +1.93 – Dynastar/Lange
- Priska Nufer (SUI): +1.94 – Dynastar/Lange
- Marta Bassino (ITA): +2.01 – Salomon/Salomon
- Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR): +2.02 – Head/Head/Head
For full FIS results, please click here.