Lara Gut earns second win of season on home snow
St. Moritz, Switzerland – In front of thousands of cheering fans, local hero Lara Gut raced to her second victory of the season. The Swiss completed the so called Engiadina downhill course in 1:43.82 in sunny conditions on Saturday, while Austria's Anna Fenninger came second, 0.32 seconds adrift. Hungary's Edit Miklos finished third, 0.58 seconds out, for her first ever World Cup podium.
With bib 16 and after a slow top section, Lara Gut showcased her exceptional talent in the technical part to make up time and finally build up a comfortable lead.
“It's never easy for me to be fast in the top and relatively flat section, I have to fight a lot”, she explained. “I still managed to be faster there today than in training.”
There was wind in the upper part of the track that tended to switch directions and hence had a slight influence on the race.
“Some girls had a tail wind and some didn't,” commented Gut. “That is part of the game. We have had races with conditions that were much less regular than today, with stronger winds or clouds.”
In 2008, the 23-year-old earned her first World Cup podium in a downhill and her maiden victory in a super-G both held in St. Moritz, but has failed to reach the top-3 there since.
“I finished close to the podium in GS with a fourth place (2012), but yes I think it was time to be back on the podium,” said Gut with a big smile.
“It's a great start to the weekend for me and to have three Swiss racers in the top 7 makes it even better.”
Still seeking for a first career victory in downhill, Anna Fenninger was the runner-up for the fifth time this season, across all disciplines.
“It was a windy run, but I think it was the case for everyone”, she first said about the conditions. “My skiing was not perfect in the middle section, but was good again in the lower part. I'm just happy with that second place, considering the problems I had to be fast here over the past years.”
Edit Miklos, who was born in Romania but is part of the Hungarian team since 2011 after moving to Budapest, had only one top ten finish before the achievement of the day. As a personal best, she came fifth in Crans-Montana downhill in 2014."
“I believe in me and I know that if I manage to put in a good run, then I can hope for a good place,” she said. “To make the podium today is very important to me. I've put a lot of efforts in training and always tried my best and it finally pays off. It makes me very happy.”
In the World Cup downhill standings, Lindsey Vonn, who finished 23rd due to a big mistake, leads Fenninger by 79 points on 366, while Rebensburg sits in third, on 269 points.
“I knew there was some tail wind, head wind going on on the top and I was trying to risk a lot and to push the line a little bit,” explained Vonn. “I pushed a little bit too hard. I was a little bit too inside of my body and caught the inside ski. But tomorrow is another day so I'll just have to try again.”
The ladies will battle it out in a super-G race on Sunday.
Here are the full results.