Jessica Lindell-Vikarby earns first World Cup GS win in Beaver Creek
Beaver Creek, USA – After two spectacular speed races on the Raptor course, the ladies moved to the legendary Birds of Prey slope to race in the second giant slalom of the season. Disappointed after finishing 37th in yesterday's super g race, Sweden's Jessica Lindell-Vikarby put an incredible and mistake free first run together to take the lead. She dealt with the pressure of being the last to go in the second run and skied to her first career World Cup victory in giant slalom, clocking a combined time of 2:17.92, just 0.09 seconds faster than local hero Mikaela Shiffrin. In third position and starting with bib 29, Liechtenstein's Tina Weirather was the fastest of the second run to climb onto her second podium of the week, with a combined time of 2:18.48, 0.56 seconds behind the Swede. For the three of them, it is the first World Cup podium ever in giant slalom.
Sweden's Maria Pietilae-Holmner was close to get her first giant slalom podium as well but had to be content with 4th position, her personal best in the discipline. Maria Höfl-Riesch made up some time in the second run to finish 5th.
With an 8th position in the season-opener at Sölden and a win today, Jessica Lindell-Vikarby is going through one of her best season starts. “It's been a long since I last stood on a podium and I am really pleased to be there again”, she said at the press conference. “I've been working hard the last three years on my GS technique and I am obviously very happy it's paying off.”
“Being in the lead after the first run was something new to me. I was for sure nervous, but tried to relax, breathe and stay calm. I'm glad it worked out in the end. Conditions today were perfect, I couldn't even tell that 29 racers ran before me. Simply a great day”, she concluded.
After an impressive season last winter, Mikaela Shiffrin starts the new one even stronger and who knows what the 18-year-old has in store for this Olympic year. “I'm crushing in GS and in slalom. I'm really excited out of this competition and hope to make it an interesting season”, she said.”I just wanted to ski as well as I could today. This hill is one of my favourites because it feels so good to make good turns and to arch these turns. I'm truly satisfied with the way I skied today.”
Tina Weirather showed a strong state of mind to bounce back after yesterday's disappointment in the super g race where she skied out. “It's always been a big goal to get a podium in giant slalom and I'm for sure very happy with the day”, said the 24-year-old. “Giant slalom is for me the most important discipline and moving up in the giant slalom World Cup Start List is very encouraging. It was a challenging course, but I really liked the conditions here; the snow was compact, not icy and I managed to make the most of it.”
Among the favourites, Germany's Veronika Rebensburg and Austria's Anna Fenninger skied out in the second run while World Cup overall leader Lara Gut DNFed in the first run of the day.
“I touched the snow with my inside boot in the middle steep section, lost contact and started sliding on my side”, Lara Gut said. “No way I could have recovered. This is a mistake I've unfortunately made too many times so far this season in training. I'm going to focus on that to be ready for the next giant slalom race in St-Moritz. I am a little bit disappointed for sure but leaving Beaver Creek with 200 points is much more than what I expected.”
The 22-year-old Swiss racer keeps the lead in the overall standings with 300 points, 80 points over Mikaela Shiffrin.
In the giant slalom standings, Jessica Lindell-Vikarby takes the lead with 132 points ahead Shiffrin who has 120.
The Ladies World Cup tour is now heading north to Lake Louise, Canada. Two downhill trainings, two downhill races and one super g await them. Another great week of ski racing ahead!
Here are the full results of the day.