Worley wins second consecutive GS at Sestriere
An incredibly tight giant slalom race unfolded on the legendary Kandahar Giovanni A. Agnelli slope in Sestriere, Italy, on Saturday as mere hundredths separated the leaders after the first run, and second run provided excitement for the 12,000 fans assembled in the finish area.
American Mikaela Shiffrin held the slimmest of margins over Liechtenstein's Tina Weirather with only a 0.01-second lead heading into the second run. Sölden winner Lara Gut and Killington victor Tessa Worley sat tied for third just 0.05 seconds from Shiffrin. Prime racing conditions created an opportunity where even athletes outside the top 15 could threaten for the podium.
"[The race is] so tight, it's going to be like a new race so I'll just try to take the same mentality. I felt like I really tried to ski aggressive that run, and that's sort of different for me," said Shiffrin after first run. "But it was fun and it worked out, so I'll try to do the same thing."
But second run proved challenging for the top two contenders. Weirather battled down the hill into fourth position as a critical mistake robbed Shiffrin of the podium and she ultimately finished sixth.
Rising to the challenge was Worley, who admitted after the race that she watched Alexis Pinturault's win in Val d'Isere on TV before her second run and was inspired to deliver a similar performance.
“It feels really awesome,” the Frenchwoman said about her back-to-back GS victories. “It’s great to be able to ski just like you're used to doing in training and just have to think about pushing really hard in the races. And that was clearly the only thing that I needed to think about today because all the girls were fighting very hard. It was a tight race, so I’m happy I won it.”
Worley's victory over Sofia Goggia by a 0.15-second margin, the 10th of her career in GS, now ties her with Carole Merle for the French women's GS win record.
Goggia was the clear crowd favorite, and her teammate Marta Bassino finished fifth to contribute to four Italians cracking the top 15. It marked Goggia's fourth podium finish in two weeks.
“I’m going to say the same words I already said in Killington,” Goggia noted with conviction. “We are the fastest team in giant slalom on the World Cup.”
Gut, meanwhile, was just happy to salvage a podium finish on the day.
“The first run was a nightmare,” Gut remarked. “I did not ski the way I wanted, always too early in the turn. That wasn’t really skiing. I tried to ski a little more aggressive, tighter lines, but it didn’t really work the way I was hoping. I’m happy to be on the podium. It’s always great to be on the podium, and it’s a good thing that I’m third even if I’m not skiing well.”
The 2016 overall champion will compete in Sunday's slalom as preparation for the alpine combined next week in Val d'Isere.
Full results from this race are available here.