Gut wins windy women’s super-G World Cup race
CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy — Swiss skier Lara Gut won a windy super-G Sunday in the final World Cup speed race before the Sochi Olympics.
For her fifth victory of the season — but first since Lake Louise, Alberta, in early December — Gut clocked 1 minute, 27.81 seconds down the Olympia delle Tofane course.
Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein finished second, 0.12 seconds behind, for her third consecutive podium result this week, and Maria Hoefl-Riesch was third, 0.61 back, to maintain her lead in the overall World Cup standings.
A combination of strong wind and a tough course, set by Tina Maze’s coach, Mauro Pini, led to 19 racers failing to finish.
Olympic champion Andrea Fischbacher of Austria crashed and slammed into the safety netting but got right back up and skied down without major injury.
Maze, who won Saturday’s downhill, finished fifth.
The tailwind was so strong when Hoefl-Riesch came down that the German was nearly blown off course over the final jump.
Hoefl-Riesch landed outside the blue lines painted onto the snow to outline the course and had to rapidly change direction to clear the last gate.
Other skiers were slowed by a headwind as the conditions constantly shifted, at times making the banner hanging over the finish line billow in the wind.
When the winds finally calmed down, it enabled Marusa Ferk of Slovenia to finish 11th with the No. 49 bib. Chemmy Alcott of Britain, the next skier down, placed 23rd for her first World Cup points since rejoining the circuit this week after leg surgery.
The top Americans were Stacey Cook in 13th and Julia Mancuso in 16th.
In the overall standings, Hoefl-Riesch holds a 128-point lead over Weirather.
In the super-G ranks, Gut leads by 38 points over Weirather with only one more super-G remaining — at the World Cup finals in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, in March.
The women’s circuit moves to Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, for a giant slalom and slalom next weekend — the final events before the Sochi Games open Feb. 7.