Weirather wins World Cup super-G race for first victory of season
Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein followed up three recent second-place finishes with her first victory of the World Cup season, winning the super-G on Saturday.
Weirather timed 1 minute, 17.38 seconds in sunny, near-perfect race conditions after finishing runner-up twice last weekend and once in November.
Kajsa Kling of Sweden raced down from start No. 44 to runner-up, 0.31 seconds behind. Anna Fenninger of Austria was third.
The win served as a 57th birthday gift for Weirather’s mother, two-time Olympic and World Cup overall champion Hanni Wenzel.
"I had a parcel for her but this first place will be a bigger present," said Weirather, who shared a celebratory hug with her mother in the finish area.
Defending champion Lindsey Vonn skipped the St. Moritz race weekend. Vonn has a lighter World Cup schedule to manage a knee injury before the Sochi Olympics.
After a stellar 2013 season, the U.S. team is still seeking a podium finish after six speed races this season. Stacey Cook finished 16th, 1.74 behind the leader, while Julia Mancuso was 20th.
Wenzel knows St. Moritz well, having won slalom gold and combined silver when the 1974 World Championships were held at the Alpine resort.
"I think it’s an awesome story because she was world champion," the 24-year-old Weirather said. "Now she’s here and it’s her birthday."
Kling almost spoiled the family’s special day, continuing her breakthrough season at age 24. She never had a top-10 finish in a World Cup race before the downhill last Saturday at Lake Louise, Canada, and now has three in eight days.
"I’ve been working a lot with the physical training and mentally, because I’m really nervous and now I’ve learned to handle it at the start," Kling said.
Pre-race favorite Lara Gut of Switzerland was seventh, 1.12 back, and retained her lead in the overall and super-G standings.
Weirather earned 100 race points and moved up to second overall, trailing Gut by 37.
Weirather’s second career World Cup victory was also her second in super-G. She won in March at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
Her mother won 33 World Cup races including overall titles in 1978 and `80. Wenzel’s standout 1980 season included two gold medals and one silver at the Lake Placid Olympics.