Marie-Michele Gagnon skis to 6th in World Cup super-G

Marie-Michele of Gagnon of Lac-Etchemin, Que., was looking to continue her strong start to the season when she took to the mountain in St. Mortiz, Switzerland on Saturday.

Liechtenstein's Tina Weirather wins St. Moritz race

Canada's Marie-Michele Gagnon smiles in the finish area after completing a career best super-G performance on the World Cup circuit. (Armando Trovati/Associated Press)

Canadian skier Marie-Michele Gagnon is proving to be a consistent contender in World Cup skiing in this Olympic season.

The Lac-Etchemin, Que., native finished sixth in the women's World Cup super-G race in St. Mortiz, Switzerland on Saturday, her fourth top 10 showing so far this season. 

"I’m in this magical zone right now and I don’t want to overthink it," Gagnon said in an Alpine Canada release. “I’m feeling confident in every discipline.”

Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein followed up three recent second-place finishes to win Saturday's race.

Gagnon's result tops the career best in super-G that she had established just one week ago in Lake Louise, Alta. The 24-year-old also has top 10 finishes in what have been regarded as her more consistent disciplines so far in her career, the slalom and giant slalom.

"I’m attacking like I do in giant slalom," said Gagnon. "I’ve got skis this year that are a little bit stiffer and I’ve got a lot more power. I’m not afraid of speed and I’ve always loved super-G but I’m skiing it well and clean and fast. I feel like I’m building."

Gagnon, who was 28th out of the gate, has already qualified for the Sochi Olympics.

Weirather timed one minute, 17.38 seconds in near-perfect race conditions on a still, sunny day, her fifth time on the podium but first time atop it so far this season.

Kajsa Kling of Sweden raced down from start No. 44 to be runner-up, 0.31 seconds behind.   

Kling continued 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. 

Anna Fenninger of Austria was third, trailing Weirather by 0.39, for her fourth podium finish in nine races. 

Weirather's family affair

Pre-race favourite 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 in the overall standings, trailing Gut by 37.   

Gagnon crossed in 1:18.42 and moved a spot to 12th in the overall standings. She is ninth in the discipline standings.

Larisa Yurkiw of Owen Sound, Ont., finished 34th in the race, while Marie-Pier Prefontaine of Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Que., did not finish the race.

Lindsey Vonn of the United States, who won this race last year, skipped the St. Moritz race weekend. She has chosen a lighter World Cup schedule to manage a knee injury before the Sochi Olympics. 

Weirather's second career World Cup victory was also her second in super-G. The 24-year-old racer won in March at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.   

Her mother, Hanni Wenzel, won 33 World Cup races including two overall titles in 1978 and 1980. Wenzel's standout 1980 season included two gold medals and one silver at the Lake Placid Olympics.

"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." 

The competition at St. Moritz continues with a giant slalom on Sunday.

Gagnon will compete for Canada, as will Erin Mielzynski, of Collingwood, Ont., and Mikaela Tommy, of Wakefield, Que.

With files from

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