Downhill girls show GS skills in Val d’Isere

Tina Weirather wins in the GS in Val d'Isere - Copyright ZOOM AGENCE

Tina Weirather gave herself the perfect Christmas present in winning the Giant Slalom in Val d’Isere. Weirather started from bib 18, after the top seeds, yet used her gliding skills to know Marie Pietilae-Holmner off her … recently secured lead in the first run. Pietilae-Holmner had in turn grabbed the lead from Lara Gut who had held it from the beginning, bib 1. While Gut and Pietilae-Holmer swapped positions after the second run, Weirather held on to win her first World Cup Giant Slalom just over a week after winning her first World Cup race, the Super G in St Moritz the week before.

Manuela Moelgg got the second run off but it was soon the girl of the moment, Kajsa Kling who was in the lead. Kling is on a roll at the moment and although she was 2.60 seconds off Weirather, Kling posted a time that saw her rising up the leader board with the fastest second run time: the 25 year old from Sweden is on absolute fire at the moment and it will not be long before she is starting inside the top 30 in three disciplines.

It took until Mikaela Shiffrin came down for her to be dislodged from the leaders enclosure. The American was soon pushed out by Maria Hoefl-Riesch. With the course using the same slope as that which was used for the downhill, the long gliding sections were heaven sent for those racers that had been in the downhill. Surely FIS would have been better hosting a Super G instead of the Giant Slalom in the spirit of equality for all?

Hoefl-Riesch was 11th after the first run and her lead lasted until Federica Brignone edged her out. Gagnon, Zettel and Fenninger all failed to better the times of Brignone and Hoefl-Riesch and World Cup leader, Jessica lindell-Vikarby, had a rare off day as she slide down the leader board behind the two. With Gut up next, the diminutive Swiss racer put in a run that showed just why she is so highly thought of. Gut took the lead by around four tenths and then had to wait for the last two.

Pietlilae-Holmner could only manage to go into second, pushing the German off the podium. would Gut’s time be good enough to hold on for her second Giant Slalom win of the season or could Weirather win her second race of the season? Weirather just had too much of an advantage for her training partner and took the win.

After the race she said “It’s a great Christmas gift. To me the World Cup lead is not that important. It’s only December. But to win a giant slalom means a lot. GS has always been the discipline in which I wanted to do well.”

Tina Maze looked to be heading to a great result but in race of little margins, she made a big error on the first run and was off the pace. Jessica Lindell-Vikarby holds on to the lead in the GS World Cup while Weirather now leads the Overall World Cup. Lienz is up next for the girls with a technical double header!

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