Sara Hector claims maiden World Cup win in Kühtai
Kühtai in Tirol, Austria – The World Cup tour has stopped in Kühtai in Tirol this week for the first time in history after the Semmering races were cancelled due to the lack of snow and relocated in one of the highest ski resorts in Europe. 6'500 spectators made their way to 2'020 meters of altitude and cheer for their favourites racers.
Second after the opening run, Sweden's Sara Hector gave it all out in the second run to finally secure her first ever World Cup victory. She finished in a combined time of 2:17.61 to beat one of the local favourites Anna Fenninger by a mere 0.09 seconds. In the lead after the first run, USA's Mikaela Shiffrin wasn't as comfortable in the second run but managed to take third place in the end, 0.18 seconds off the winning pace.
22-year-old Sara Hector skied with the extra confidence gained in Are where she raced to her first career World Cup podium, with a second place in the giant slalom race.
“It's not easy to put words on such emotions right now,” she first said at the press conference. “It's like a dream come true. To be on top of the podium is so special. The second place in Are was already amazing. It's just crazy, I am just so happy.”
28 December has been a synonym of success for Anna Fenninger who won the last two giant slalom races held on that specific day in the previous years (Semmering + Lienz). She was just 0.09 seconds away from another success today.
“It was a very good day even though I didn't win,” she said. “It was a tough race. Visibility wasn't ideal. We are quite high here and there are no trees around to help you see. I was surprised by the rolls and the terrain in the first run.”
Mikaela Shiffrin who shared the victory with Anna Fenninger in the first World Cup race of the season in Sölden has been on a slight downward trend in giant slalom since then, finishing sixth in Aspen and 10th in Åre. She admitted that she had tried to change her attitude going into this week's races.
"I am really trying to have fun and not to think about winning," she confessed.
"The second run was set pretty straight and normally I ski so wide on those courses and loose a bit of time. I think I attacked it, just enough to get a podium. It was tough conditions for everybody. Overall it was a good race for me.”
In the giant slalom standings Austria's Eva-Maria Brem, who finished fourth, keeps the lead with 270 points. Fenninger is 28 points behind.
Another exciting race awaits us on Monday with a slalom and the weather forecast looks more favourable.
Here are the full results.