For France’s Tessa Worley, persistence has finally paid off. The reigning World Giant Slalom Champion took the GS in Lezerheide, Switzerland, on Saturday for her first World Cup win of the season after three second-place GS finishes since the season opener in Soelden last October.
The Frenchwoman bested Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg on the steep and challenging Lenzerheide slope by only 0.07 seconds for the win, with an unlikely newcomer joining them. 19-year-old Slovene Meta Hrovat powered her way to an impressive third place thanks to a blazing second run in the final women’s GS before the Olympics next month.
“It feels really good,” said Worley of her performace. “I’m happy about this win. I’ve been doing some good runs on the races and some not so good runs too and to be able to win a race you need to be really good and fast on the two runs and I’m really happy I managed to do this today. It was tough, it was a fight, but who doesn’t like a good fight?”
Rebensburg was able to widen her lead over Worley and Mikaela Shiffrin in the overall GS standings as Shiffrin could only manage an uncharacteristic seventh place on Saturday. Rebensburg now leads the standings with 502 points ahead of Worley’s 470 and Shiffrin’s 421.
“It was a really tough race today,” admitted the German. “It was a fight from the top to the bottom but in the end I’m pretty happy with my second run. It was tight in the end so I know without skiing brilliant today I’m there. I’m just happy that I made it to the finish because I had some parts where it was a little bit on the limit.”
Hrovat’s first trip to the podium continued the roll the Slovenian women have been on in Lenzerheide as Ana Drev also cracked the top five in fifth to go with Ana Bucik’s third-place finish in Friday’s combined.
“It was a fight, but a good one!” Hrovat shared after the race. “I’m so happy. I couldn’t be happier and I was not completely satisfied with my first run so I wanted to do my best in the second run and I think I did so I’m so happy. I was shocked yesterday and I got huge motivation from (Ana’s) first podium for this race today. I wanted to race today because I know we can (be on the podium). She did it yesterday and I know we can. It’s amazing.”
The hill itself proved to be the toughest competitor as many racers fell victim in one way or another to the challenging terrain and course sets. Very steep immediately out of the start with sidehills and undulations galore until you cross the finish line, there was a lot of head shaking in the finish through both runs, even from the fastest skiers.
“You need to be able to go forward even if it’s really steep and manage to really be aggressive,” explained Worley. “That’s how I did it in the first run so I was really happy about that. In the second I did a big, big, mistake at the top and that cost me a lot but I managed to be active and get the rhythm back and that was really important, to keep fighting even though I had a mistake.”
Shiffrin’s skiing simply looked off in both runs. Not counting last week’s DNF in Kronplatz, the American found herself finishing off of a tech podium for the first time since the opening race in Soelden, where she finished fifth. With slalom on the schedule next, Shiffrin will no doubt look for redemption on Sunday. The two other American starters, Megan McJames and Nina O’Brien, did not finish the first run and did not qualify for the second run, respectively.
The women now race slalom in Lenzerheide on Sunday. Start time is scheduled for 9:30 CET.
1. Tessa Worley (FRA) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
2. Viktoria Rebensburg (GER) – Stoeckli/Lange
3. Meta Hrovat (SLO) – Stoeckli/Lange
4. Simone Wild (SUI) – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
5. Ana Drev (SLO) – Voelkl/Fischer/Marker
6. Raghnild Mowinckel (NOR) – Head/Head/Head
7. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
8. Petra Vlhova (SVK) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
9. Bernadette Schild (AUT) – Head/Head/Head
9. Federica Brignone (ITA) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points||WC Points|
|13||29||197319||BAUD MUGNIER Adeline||1992||FRA||1:07.47||1:05.60||2:13.07||+2.26||16.93||20|
|26||45||425921||HAUGEN Kristine Gjelsten||1992||NOR||1:10.06||1:07.09||2:17.15||+6.34||47.50||5|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Disqualified 2nd run|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|48||6535773||O BRIEN Nina||1997||USA||1:12.45||0|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|36||426100||HOLTMANN Mina Fuerst||1995||NOR||0|
|27||197124||FRASSE SOMBET Coralie||1991||FRA||0|
|Did not start 1st run|
|60||35089||SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena||1984||ARG||0|