Gut sets the pace in Crans-Montana 1st downhill training
Crans-Montana, Switzerland – Just a few days after the Olympics came to an end, the World Cup Tour stops in Crans-Montana for a downhill and a super combined race scheduled respectively for Satruday and Sunday. The last time the ladies got to race in Crans Montana was in March 2010.
This year a completely new track has been designed to welcome the World Cup racers and the fresh Olympic medalists. Four million Swiss francs were spent and four months was needed to deliver the new “Mont-Lachaux” slope.
This spectacular hill was inaugurated end January with great success, as three Men's European Cup races were held. “Magical”, “Super”, “Demanding” were some of the praiseworthy comments that described the slope, following these events.
Today a first downhill training was held. The start originally planned at 10:15 was delayed by 45 minutes due to the amount of work need to to fully prepare the piste, after the fresh snowfalls overnight. Switzerland's Lara Gut managed to tame the new slope the best way and was the fastest down in a time of 1:34.32, more than one second ahead of the rest of the field. Austria's Regina Sterz and Andrea Fischbacher took 2nd and 3rd, respectively + 1.06 and + 1.07 off the pace. Downhill Olympic Champions Dominique Gisin and Tina Maze finished further back in 11th and 17th positions. The relatively warm conditions together with foggy sections along the course made it difficult for some of the racers.
Currently sitting in 6th position in the downhill standings, more than 200 points behind the leader Maria Höfl-Riesch, Lara Gut is seeking for a second downhill victory this season that would be her 6th overall.
“The aim today was to see what that new slope was about,” she commented after her training run. “The tack is good and the course is interesting. We can see that it is an old slope that has been modernised. Some sections are narrow; we don't have a lot of room on the sides, as we are kind of used to boulevards. The snow is quite soft so we weren't fast today. We just have to hope that the snow and the weather will be with us on race day.”
The ladies will get another chance tomorrow to find the best line on the “Mont-Lachaux” piste. Start is scheduled for 10:15 CET
Here are the 1st training results.