Lara Gut wins final World Cup super-G before Olympics
Swiss skier captures 1st victory in almost a year
Lara Gut won the final World Cup super-G before next month's Olympics on Sunday, signalling a return to form after knee surgery last season.
It was the Swiss skier's first victory since winning the downhill in Cortina almost a year ago.
"It's good to be back — to be back winning," Gut said. "In super-G I've always been fast. ... If I ski the way I can I'm always top 10."
In a race on a shortened course that was shaped by strong winds, overcast conditions and overnight snowfall, Gut clocked 1 minute, 14.78 seconds for a 0.14-second advantage over Johanna Schnarf of Italy.
Nicole Schmidhofer of Austria finished third, 0.27 behind.
Lindsey Vonn, the record holder in Cortina with 12 wins, was slowed by a strong gust of wind and finished sixth, 0.37 back.
"An unlucky day. ... never had such a strong wind gust in a race ever in my life. Oh well, can't change it. I'll save the good luck for February I guess," Vonn tweeted, looking ahead to the Pyeongchang Games, which open Feb. 9.
Vonn started sixth and Gut was next.
Gut makes up time late
Gut trailed Schnarf at all three checkpoints but then established her lead through the final gates.
"I didn't have any wind, so I was fast," Gut said.
Overall World Cup leader Mikaela Shiffrin missed a gate midway through her run and Italian favourite Sofia Goggia hit a gate and also did not finish.
Shiffrin still holds a huge 876-point lead over Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein in the overall standings. Gut reclaimed the lead in the super-G ranks, 18 points ahead of Weirather.
Due to increasing wind, the race was called off after 44 of 58 skiers had started.
It was the 24th victory of Gut's World Cup career.
Gut ruptured her left ACL last February in a crash during slalom warmups for the combined medal event of her home world championships in St. Moritz. The injury ensured she lost her overall World Cup title to American rival Mikaela Shiffrin.
Special result for Schnarf
Schnarf recorded her only other podium result eight years ago.
"It means a lot to me, because it's my second podium in 10 years and because I'm so near my home," said Schnarf, who is from the nearby Alto Adige region. "I love Cortina and I have my family and my husband here."
It was Schmidhofer's fourth career podium — three of which have come in Cortina. She could have won if not for an error midway through her run.
"It's a really good slope for me," Schmidhofer said, adding that the course set by her coach, Roland Assinger, "was really tricky."
Thirteen skiers did not finish and there were several crashes — the worst of which involved Nadine Fest of Austria, who spun around at high speed and ended up in the safety netting. She was taken down the course on a sled and was being checked for a suspected knee injury.
Federica Brignone, the Italian who won the previous super-G, did not start due to a fever.
Brignone will be looking to defend her victory in Tuesday's giant slalom in nearby San Vigilio di Marebbe.