Brem clinches giant slalom title on last day of WCup finals
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (AP) Eva-Maria Brem clinched the women's giant slalom title by the slenderest of margins on the last day of the World Cup finals for her first-ever crystal globe.
Brem needed to finish no lower than fourth to claim the title and she did just that, edging Marie-Michele Gagnon into fifth by 0.04 seconds to secure the trophy by two points on Sunday.
''It feels perfect for me. That was my goal,'' said Brem, who was runner-up last year. ''In January I had the feeling it had fallen away from me and I cannot grab it anymore but then I started to work on myself. In the end I was a little bit lucky today but it's deserved after the close races in the past where I wasn't lucky.''
Viktoria Rebensburg, who won the giant slalom globe in 2011 and 2012 and was the only woman who could have surpassed Brem in the season standings on Sunday, posted the fastest time and faced an anxious wait to see what her rival would do.
Brem crossed the line and looked nervously at the clock before putting her head in her hands. Rebensburg was the first to congratulate her.
''She was saying well deserved and I was telling her that she put me under pressure and then we were laughing,'' Brem said. ''It was a really cool fight and Viktoria would have deserved it too. It was a really respectful battle too though and that's how it should be.''
Taina Barioz was second on the day, 0.46 behind Rebensburg. Overall champion Lara Gut was third, 0.75 off the pace. Slalom specialist Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States crashed on the opening run, while leading after the first split.
Gut effectively sealed the first overall title for a Swiss woman in 21 years last weekend at nearby Lenzerheide. Lindsey Vonn, who led before her crash in a super-G in Andorra last month, place second and Rebensburg was third overall.
Andre Myhrer of Sweden won the men's slalom race but the title had already been decided, and champion Henrik Kristoffersen had entered the weekend seeking to become the fourth man to win a record seven World Cup slalom races in a single season.
However, the Norwegian finished 19th, almost two seconds off the pace after being ill in bed with a fever on Thursday and Friday.
''When you're as tired as I was today, it wasn't really possible,'' he said. ''It's been a really good season. I wasn't close to believing this was going to happen before the season, I knew I could fight for podiums and stuff but to win six races and as many podiums ... it doesn't happen that often.''
Myhrer, fourth-fastest after the opening run, finished 0.14 seconds ahead of overall World Cup winner Marcel Hirscher, who was also second in the slalom standings. Felix Neureuther of Germany was third, 22 points ahead of Myhrer.
It was a first win since 2012 for Myhrer and a third podium of 2016 for the Swedish skier, who was runner-up twice last month.
''It's been a tough season so it's really good to end it this way,'' Myhrer said. ''I started with three really bad races but in January it turned a bit and since Japan I've had really good self-confidence.''
Sebastian Foss-Solevaag was third, with the young Norwegian claiming only a second-ever podium finish.
Daniel Yule of Switzerland, whose best position in the slalom is sixth, led after the opening run for the first time in his career - much to the delight of the home crowd - but he finished 11th.
Hirscher had already clinched a record fifth successive overall title.
''This is the first record that is really amazing and I hope it goes for another five years,'' Hirscher said.
Kristoffersen finished second overall, with Alexis Pinturault of France third.