Worley wins World Cup giant slalom in Lienz
Vlhova, Hector round out podium in Mikaela Shiffrin’s absence
On Tuesday, France’s Tessa Worley did in Austria what she couldn’t quite accomplish on her home soil last week in Courchevel.
With overall World Cup and giant slalom season leader Mikaela Shiffrin sidelined as a result of a positive COVID-19 test, the 5-foot-2-inch, two-time giant slalom world champion continued her climb up the discipline’s season standings with a victory in Lienz.
“I really wanted this one because I was so close at the podium at Courchevel that you know — it was really cool,” Worley told FIS reporters after the race. “I feel really great. Skiing today was really fun. The slope was perfect. I enjoyed the challenge being in front in the first run. I feel I can trust my skiing.”
The cut up course imposed itself in the form of five DNF’s in the second run. Worley, who uses Rossignol’s dynamic line technology, may have benefited from the suspension technology attached to her planks, which works to neutralize vibrations and disperse energy across the snow. She found the sweet spot along the continuum of committed, aggressive and safe skiing, charting the perfect line down the 42-gate Schlossberg course.
“I think it was mainly about pushing every turn,” Worley told FIS in regard to the closeness of the race.
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“The snow was really perfect. The slope — I’m starting to know it really well. So, I think I was confident on the slope, and I managed to push everywhere, so that was maybe the difference.”
The 2021 overall World Cup winner, Petra Vlhova, held the top spot until Worley’s victory run. Vlhova’s second-place finish moved her closer to Shiffrin in the overall standings. She now sits in third, 235 points behind her rival. Sofia Goggia, who is known more as a speed specialist, finished 12th on the day and maintained her hold on second place in the overall rankings.
Sweden’s Sara Hector, who had an emotional return to the top of the podium in Courchevel a week ago, continued her strong midseason form, placing third.
On the American side, Paula Moltzan finished 22nd and Nina O’Brien failed to qualify for a second run, finishing in 33rd. The notable absence from Shiffrin, who has podiumed seven times at the Austrian venue in her career, was felt, but the star supported her teammates as she watched from quarantine, according to U.S. Ski and Snowboard’s report of the race.
“I’m super psyched to watch my teammates race,” Shiffrin told U.S. Ski and Snowboard’s Courtney Harkins.
“And as far as the overall globe goes, we’re just taking it day by day. Obviously, this is a blow to the points and chances there, but if we’ve learned anything this season so far, it’s that anything can happen. I’m just focused on getting better and getting back to racing ASAP, and we’ll let the chips fall where they may. Can’t worry too much about globes and titles with everything going on with COVID.”
1. Mikaela Shiffrin, USA – 750
2. Sofia Goggia, ITA – 657
3. Petra Vlhova, SVK – 515
4. Sara Hector, SWE – 398
5. Federica Brignone, ITA – 392
6. Ramona Siebenhofer, AUT – 341
7. Ragnhild Mowinckel, NOR – 330
8. Breezy Johnson, USA – 322
9. Lara Gut-Behrami, SUI – 298
10. Elena Curtoni, ITA – 283
1. Mikaela Shiffrin, USA – 280
2. Sara Hector, SWE – 262
3. Petra Vlhova, SVK – 235
4. Tessa Worley, FRA – 227
5. Ramona Siebenhofer, AUT – 118
With the Olympics quickly approaching, Worley is planning on keeping an even keel approach to her racing.
“I don’t know, just keep having fun,” she told FIS when asked about her expectations moving forward.
“I know that there are a lot of girls skiing really fast in GS right now. I know it’s always challenging. I’m just really happy to be a part of those skiers. Yeah, keep trying to have fun and go fast, and we’ll see.”
The action continues with slalom events at 2 a.m. (MST) Wednesday in Lienz. Vlhova leads the slalom standings with 280 points, with Shiffrin close behind in second at 260. The American won the last slalom contested, on her home course in Killington, Vermont, back in November.