Shiffrin ecstatic in 4th; Vonn content in 12th
AP Sports Writer
CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy — Lara Gut crashed, Mikaela Shiffrin was ecstatic after finishing fourth, while Lindsey Vonn was just happy to make it down safely in 12th.
It was an up-and-down day for the biggest names in women’s ski racing Sunday as Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia took advantage of bib No. 1 to win the first World Cup super-G of her career.
Stuhec finished 0.31 seconds ahead of Sofia Goggia of Italy and 0.70 in front of two-time overall champion Anna Veith of Austria.
Gut, the defending overall champion, was fastest through the first two checkpoints when she lost control and twisted around in the air. She was fortunate to land with her skis facing downhill and came away with only bruises on her right leg and arm, according to the Swiss team.
“That’s not the way I expected to end my weekend,” Gut, who won Saturday’s downhill, wrote on Facebook. “I’m OK. Ice will be my best friend for the next few days.”
Shiffrin missed the podium by just 0.03 seconds and extended her overall lead to 80 points ahead of Gut after the best speed result of her career.
The American’s previous best speed result was 13th.
“That was really fun,” said Shiffrin, the Olympic and two-time world champion in slalom. “It felt like solid skiing and I was taking the line that we inspected and maybe even more aggressive in some spots.”
It helped that Shiffrin got a course report from Vonn, who told her younger teammate to go straighter than she might think possible.
“I was like, ‘If she’s saying that, then I really need to go straight,’” Shiffrin said. “So it was perfect.”
Still, Shiffrin does not plan to enter the super-G at the Feb. 7-19 world championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
“If you’re there for the whole thing you’re there for two weeks and I’m missing really valuable training,” Shiffrin said. “My best shot is GS and slalom. That’s my best chance at medals and I’m going to focus on that. … I don’t want to be greedy.”
It was another perfect day in the resort known as the “Queen” of the Dolomites Range, with the Olympia delle Tofane course bathed in sunshine and uninhibited 360-degree views all across the valley.
While her coach, Chris Knight, set the course, Vonn took it easy after crashing the previous two days. Vonn, who has won a record 11 races in Cortina, is also still regaining her form in super-G after returning recently from nearly a year out with knee and right arm injuries.
It was the first time Vonn left Cortina without a win since 2009.
“It definitely wasn’t the weekend that I was hoping for but I think all things considered it’s good that I’m still in one piece,” Vonn said, adding that she feels pain on her “whole left side.”
“It was definitely really conservative skiing but I got to the finish and that was the most important part,” the four-time overall champion said.
Vonn was impressed by Shiffrin, who led Stuhec at the final two checkpoints with the No. 31 bib.
“I thought she was going to win it,” Vonn said. “She just needs a little more gliding and then she’s going to be super fast. She’s showing that she really wants the overall title and that’s what she needs to do.”
Stuhec won the opening three downhills of this season but had never finished better than fourth in super-G.
“It wasn’t a usual super-G. It was faster with a few less turns but in the end you need to ski whatever they set,” Stuhec said.
With her ninth podium result this season, Goggia matched the Italian women’s team record of nine set by Deborah Compagnoni in 1996-97 and 1997-98.
Goggia is still seeking her first career win.
“I skied at 70-75 percent of what I can do,” Goggia said. “I’m just thinking about skiing and doing the right things and then the win will come.”
It was the first podium result for Veith since she returned in December, 14 months after badly damaging her right knee.
Veith, formerly known as Anna Fenninger, achieved the first podium result of her career in a super-G in Cortina in 2009.
“It’s not exactly the same feeling but it was nearly the same because it was also surprising for me,” Veith said. “I knew I could ski fast but I had only had fast split times. Today I put together the entire run.”
Still recovering from hip surgery, Julia Mancuso delayed her return after nearly two years out and tested the course instead as a forerunner.
Up next is a parallel city event in Stockholm, Sweden, on Tuesday — the final race before worlds.
“I’ll have to skip Stockholm,” Gut said. “But I’ll be back at the right moment.”
Andrew Dampf on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/asdampf