Gut is great in Sölden World Cup opener
Switzerland’s Lara Gut had a perfect start to the 2013/14 Audi FIS Alpine World Cup season on the Rettenbach Glacier claiming the top spot on the podium after beating the field by a 0,84 margin. It was near-perfect conditions on the glacier for the race with blue skies and a firm slope after a good overnight freeze.
It was the first giant slalom win for the 22-year-old Swiss and the first-ever podium for her at the season-opening Sölden race. Gut laid down the best time in the first run with 0,77 advantage. In the second run, Gut built on her lead an ultimately finished ahead of Austria’s Katherin Zettel by 0,84 seconds. Finishing in third place was Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg 1.28 seconds off the winning pace.
The winner of the day confessed it was a nice surprise to her. "It’s the first race of the season and there’s already a win, it’s amazing. I’m pretty happy to bring a giant slalom victory back to Switzerland. It’s a really nice feeling."
"In the first run I was trying to ski clean and push it to the limits although the snow was pretty aggressive", she added. "In the second run I just thought about skiing fast and didn’t think about what could happen. It is really nice that I am finally back on what I can do in GS. That is great!"
While second-place likely wasn’t Zettel’s dream finish, there was a silver lining to the day for the Austrian. She now holds the record for most podium finishes in Sölden, with five. It was also her 20th total career World Cup podium in the giant slalom.
"It's a big podium here and quite a good beginning to the season," said Zettel after the race. "I felt confident before the race and I hoped to get a podium after a good summer of training in New Zealand."
Germany's Viktoria Rebensburg DNFed a year ago and took revenge today. He claimed the 3rd podition was a really good result.
"I didn't have really any expectations before the race, I just wanted to ski well and have good feelings", Rebensburg said at the press conference. "I know now where I am standing and that is very positive. The way we worked this past summer was good."
All eyes were on Tina Maze before the race. The Slovenian star holds the record at Sölden with three World Cup giant slalom victories, but she was off her usual form, finishing more than two second off the pace in the first run and sinking even further in the standings in the second run and ending the day in 18th place.
Other surprises were top-15 starters Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) and Stephanie Koehle (AUT) skiing out on the first run.
Here are the full results of today’s GS!