Lara Gut pulls off her first DH victory in her career!
Val d’Isère, France – -2° at the start and +2° at the bottom! The weather conditions got slightly warmer today. As expected, the race was not disturbed by snowfall. The sky even cleared up to some extent just before the start, allowing the first 15 bibs to benefit from a good visibility that worsened somewhat as the race went on. However, due to strong winds forecast, the course was shortened by around 30 seconds.
21-year-old Swiss skier Lara Gut pulled off the win in today’s DH on the Oreiller-KIlly “OK” slope, making it her 3rd World Cup victory and the 1st ever in DH. She clocked a time of 1:19.75, 0.16 seconds ahead of the American racer Leanne Smith who scored her first podium finish. Lara’s teammate Nadja Kamer rounded out the podium, 0.50 seconds behind. The other main event of the day saw Lindsey Vonn crashing into the nets in the top section, luckily without damage. For the first time since 2007 in Cortina d’Ampezzo, the American champion did not finish a DH in the top 5! She is now 285 points behind Tina Maze who finished 12th today in the overall standings.
Lara Gut admitted that having a full preparation without any equipment or injury issues before the season’s start has made a big difference compared with the previous year and that she was feeling very well and confident on her skis. “I already said in St Moritz that I felt a podium would come soon for me but wasn’t expecting it to come so fast. Now that it has started, I’ll try my best to keep that pace. I benefited from a low bib number today and knew that the shortened course was going to be better for me without the flats in the top section. Knowing I had already got successful here in Val d’Isère in the past took some pressure off my shoulders and helped me as well.”
Coming from New Hampshire, USA, the 25-year-old Leanne Smith expressed how pleased she was after getting her first World Cup podium ever. “I was really happy with the run that I put together today, this was beyond my expectations even if the 16th hundreds could have been made up. That’s really encouraging for future races”.
The 2nd Swiss on the podium, Nadja Kamer, acknowledged that she thought she would end in the top 10 after crossing the finish line and was kind of surprised in the end to stand on the podium. “A low bib number was a slight advantage today, we enjoyed sunnier conditions. But the most important thing is that I managed this year for the first time in a while to complete a full pre-season training program without having to deal with health issues and that definitely paid off today.”