ALTENMARKT ZAUCHENSEE, Austria
Federica Brignone saw a brave run that was rewarded with Sunday’s victory in the fifth women’s World Cup Super-G of the season.
In perfect, sunny conditions, the Italian gained around three tenths of a second over her rivals with an offensive and risky approach in the middle section of the Kälberloch circuit.
While many racers set faster times in the first split, none could match Brignone’s pace in the steep corner.
“I really attacked from the top down,” said the overall World Cup winner from two seasons ago.
“Today it wasn’t easy to put all the pieces of the puzzle together because some girls are very fast in some sections but then make a little mistake.”
The top 20 finished within 1.04 seconds of the winning time.
Corinne Suter came closest with a strong finish, reducing the gap to Brignone to 0.04 seconds. It was the best result of the season for the downhill world champion from Switzerland.
“Up to now I’ve lacked self-confidence, you noticed that at every turn. Now I feel like I’m back on the right track, »said Suter.
Ariane Rädler was 0.17 seconds back in third place for the Austrian’s first podium finish.
Brignone’s triumph came a week after she had to sit out a giant slalom in Slovenia with a knee problem. She was working with physiotherapists to prepare for this weekend’s speed races.
“My knee wasn’t perfect. But the best part was that it was good at skiing. I had almost no problem,” she said.
The result marked Brignone’s Italian record, which extended an 18th career win and sixth in a Super-G. It’s the first time Brignone has won multiple Super-G races in one season.
“For me it is important. It’s an emotion. I’ve won before in my career but it’s always nice,” she said.
Italy teammate Sofia Goggia, who suffered a nasty fall on Saturday’s downhill run on the same slope, started despite complaining of sore muscles.
“My whole body hurts. But skiing is better than walking,” she said before the race, in which she took no risks and finished 19th, 0.92 seconds behind teammate Brignone.
Goggia also has two Super G wins this season and the two Italians are clear leaders in the Super G season standings, with Goggia just five points clear of Brignone with four races to go.
“We have a strong speed team. We all come from giant slalom so we make good corners and Super-G is a good mix,” said Brignone.
Olympic champion Ester Ledecka was six tenths off the lead in ninth, just ahead of Super-G world champion Lara Gut-Behrami, a day after the Swiss won the downhill. Besides Brignone and Goggia, Gut-Behrami is the only Super-G winner this season.
Defending champion Petra Vlhova finished 18th, adding 13 points to her tally.
Slovakian trail leader Mikaela Shiffrin with a 37-point lead in the overall standings. The American decided not to race this weekend and to focus on training.
Shiffrin’s teammate Breezy Johnson also had to sit out the races in Austria after injuring her knee in a training crash. That left Keely Cashman as the US Ski Team’s top finisher in 23rd place, her best result of the season.
The Women’s World Cup returns to Italy’s host city of last year’s World Championships, Cortina d’Ampezzo, for another Downhill and a Super-G next weekend.
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