With American Mikaela Shiffrin electing to sit out the alpine combined in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, in favor of resting before the tech races this weekend, it was anyone’s race on Friday with multiple athletes eager to climb the top step of the podium.
The Swiss fans came out en mass to cheer on their team and were treated to a home win with Wendy Holdener securing her first victory of the season in commanding fashion, topping the field by an impressive 1.55 seconds over Italy’s Marta Bassino in second and Slovenian Ana Bucik in third.
“I’m just happy at the moment,” Holdener shared after the race. “No stress, no pressure, I just enjoy it. Today I was the fastest and that’s always good for the heart sometimes to get the calm and for sure it’s even more special at home.”
Using a strong super-G portion as a springboard for a solid slalom performance, Holdener set the second-fastest slalom run on a deteriorating course and wasn’t afraid to show a little emotion in the finish.
“I know I can ski fast but I couldn’t always show it so I was really happy with the time and my run,” she added. “I’m really happy that everything went just great for me today.”
Bassino, known more for her giant slalom prowess, also laid down an impressive super-G run and was able to hang on in the slalom for her first World Cup podium to come in an event other than GS
“I’m really, really, really, happy about today, about my super-G this morning and I try to do my best in slalom and the podium,” she said. “I did a lot of training in slalom so I try to do my best and that’s it. This result and the result of Kronplatz gave me a lot of confidence for the next race tomorrow and the next in the Olympics.”
It was also Bucik’s maiden trip to a World Cup podium. The 24-year-old Slovene barely squeaked into the reverse 30 with the 30th fastest super-G run and took full advantage of her start position, setting the fastest slalom time by nearly a full second and vaulting herself onto the podium.
“I think I still need some time to process all that, but I’m just really happy for my whole team,” Bucik said. “It’s been a whole great team success today so it’s nice, yeah. I had a bit of luck to stay in the top 30 after the super-G, so I thought, ‘OK, I really need to take the risk and take advantage of a good slalom number.’ I just pushed and felt good and I’m really happy that it was enough for the podium today.”
Despite setting the pace in the morning’s super-G run, American Speed Queen Lindsey Vonn was unable to hang on for a podium finish in the slalom and ultimately ended up just off the podium in fourth.
“I skied one day (of slalom) in Colorado when I was home,” Vonn said between runs. “I haven’t skied slalom since then. My knee is just not good enough to really keep training it and take that risk before the Olympics.”
In contrast to Vonn’s disappointment, there was a feeling of pleasant surprise from young American Patricia Mangan who managed to crack the top 20 in her ninth World Cup start for her career-first points in 19th.
“I had not a ton of expectations coming into today,” she admitted. “I knew, obviously, in super combined anything can happen so I just tried to ski my best and I’m psyched with 19th. My mindset was to take advantage (of my slalom start) and go for it and I had some issues in the slalom but I was able to make it down, so I guess no regrets.”
The rest of the American team of Nina O’Brien and Alice Merryweather both did not finish their super-G runs.
The women now race GS on Saturday in Lenzerheide with action slated to stat at 10:15 CET.
- Wendy Holdener (SUI) – Head/Head/Head
- Marta Bassino (ITA) – Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
- Ana Bucik (SLO) – Stoeckli/Head
- Lindsey Vonn (USA) – Head/Head/Head
- Ramona Siebenhofer (AUT) – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
- Nevina Ignjatovic (SRB) – Head/Head/Head
- Anne-Sophie Barthet (FRA) – Head/Head/Head
- Denise Feierabend (SUI) – Head/Head/Head
- Michelle Gisin (SUI) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
- Romane Miradoli (FRA) – Dynastar/Lange/Look
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points||WC Points|
|18||33||426257||LIE Kajsa Vickhoff||1998||NOR||1:14.12||51.23||2:05.35||+4.17||39.57||13|
|30||45||35089||SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena||1984||ARG||1:18.42||54.32||2:12.74||+11.56||109.70||0|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|41||6535773||O BRIEN Nina||1997||USA||0|