With both her parents in St Moritz, Tina Weirather scored her maiden World Cup win on her mother’s birthday and 39 years after she won the World Championship Gold in St Moritz. Kajsa Kling surprised the field to take second place, … from a start number of 44 with Anna Fenninger taking third, Lizz Goergl fourth and Niki Hosp fifth. For a venue that is often blighted with high winds, this time it was a even race for all. No Vonn on the start list as she continues her recovery and with Lara Gut down in seventh, one hundredth and one place ahead of Maria Hoefl-Riesch, this was a great race to welcome the World Cup back to Europe.
The blue sky and the lack of the wind gave the watching crowd a perfect race. The St Moritz course is an undulating slope with lots of terrain for the course setter to work with. The careful placing of a number of gates at the top of the course meant that from the top, the racers had to be on their game. A number of racers got the line wrong in a few spots and the results were instant: Scrubbing of speed or in the case of Tina Maze, pulling up and her days was done. With just one run of inspection and then into the race, Super G is a race that is high in its intensity and concentration.
From bib 10, Lizz Goergl put down a marker that had the eyebrows raised and showed that she meant business. Goergl went off the rails a little last season and it is great to see the Double World Champion from Garmisch back on her game and challenging at the right end of the field. The smile is back and she is meaning business. With the course having been set by the Austrians, at one stage the Austrians held positions one through to four.
Lara Gut broke the stranglehold but it was not into the commanding lead that the Swiss crowd wanted. Gut had been off the pace at the top and never threatened Goergl who was leading in the finish. If the threat of Gut had been seen off, next up was another racer in form: Tina Weirather. Weirather has been threatening a win for some time and she tore into the time set by Goergl at the first split and never looked back. After the race she explained that since recovering from injuring her cruciate ligament prior to the 2010 Olympics, she has learnt to ski a lot more smoother to make the most of her movements. the result of this was a lead of almost a second over Goergl. We had a race on our hands!
Next up was the improving Julia Mancuso. Mancuso has been struggling of late and after having put in a lot of work on her kit, namely her boots, she feels that the results are getting there. Mancuso may not be challenging at the top of the field just yet but it is coming. “It is hard trying to get everything right with just one run,” explained Mancuso.
With Maze getting the line all wrong and skiing out, Maria Hoefl-Riesch then took the challenge up. Hoefl-Riesch is one of the tallest racers on the tour yet does not let this faze her. She is fast and can turn the skis well as well. Yet just below where Maze came out, Hoefl-Riesch lost her line and balance momentarily and scrubbed speed. It had been looking fast and good until then but speed had been scrubbed and the chance of victory was gone. With Gut still further down the results, there were still important World Cup points to be gained for the German. While the gap to Weirather was closing, by the time she crossed the line, she was one hundredth behind Gut, equating to four World Cup points lost in the race for the Overall.
Anna Fenninger was next to challenge. Fenninger has been in the form of her life recently and seems to have a season pass to the podium booked out. From the first split to the bottom, the Austrian was a hairs breadth behind Weirather. The more she attacked, the more exciting the race became. With the race course only 1881metres in length, Fenninger was still happy with her run and although she rued a small mistake near the bottom, she knew that Weirather had had a great run to beat her. Into second she went, leading an Austrian 2 – 3 – 4 attack on the results.
As the interviews started to take place, few people took notice of number 44 posting some fast split times. Kajsa Kling was on a charge. At the beginning of the season, the Swedish racer had been looking at posting some top fifteen results yet inNorth America the bar had been raised and she had come back with two top results. The twenty five year old from Sweden crossed the line into second place. Having suffered from nerves in the start, Kling was surprised to make second but delighted none the less!
So Weirather takes the win to move up to third in the Super G standings behind Gut leading and Fenninger who closes in to within 36 points of the Swiss racer. In the race for the Overall, Weirather edges closer to Gut with Hoefl-Riesch dropping down to third.