Brignone breaks Swiss supremacy; Gut-Behrami wins the Super G Globe

Federica Brignone found the perfect day to break the Swiss domination in Val di Fassa, giving herself as a present the sixteenth triumph of her career in World Cup, the first one of the season. Lara Gut-Behrami took second with her teammate, Corinne Suter in third. The top five was rounded out by two more Italians with Elena Curtoni and Francesca Marsaglia.

The thirty-year-old athlete from Val d'Aosta rediscovered her form in Super-G, the last race of the three-day World Cup event in Passo San Pellegrino and matches Deborah Compagnoni's record of victories in the top international circuit. Her success makes today the perfect day for the whole Italian Ski team, with Elena Curtoni, Francesca Marsaglia and Marta Bassino not far from the podium, ranking respectively fourth, fifth and sixth in final standings.

And, after the two downhill victories on Friday and Saturday, Lara Gut-Behrami finished second today at 59 hundredths from Brignone. In taking second, Gut-Behrami also secured the Super-G crystal globe, together with a widening of the gap in the overall standing. The Super-G and giant Slalom new world champion leaves with 187 points ahead of the Slovak Petra Vhlova (today only 32nd) and 335 from Michelle Gisin, third right ahead of Marta Bassino, fourth with 790 points.

Today the glory goes to Federica Brignone who finally redeems the disappointment of the Cortina d"Ampezzo World Championships, showing that she is still able to ski at her best, to draw perfect turns and to win. Her performance is perfect also on the sliding parts of the track, less congenial to her. She has made the difference in the most technical part of the slope, drawing ideal lines on the Muri del Poeta, where she recites her own ode to the skiing technique.

The gap inflicted, 59 hundredths, on the athlete of the moment, Lara Gut-Behrami, proves how great her race has been today. The third position goes to Corinne Suter (SUI), behind by 72 hundredths, always on the podium in all the three Val di Fassa races.

The race was a good day for the Italians as Elena Curtoni was fourth, just six hundredths from the top three, Francesca Marsaglia ranked fifth at 0"83 and Marta Bassino sixth at 0"86. Bassino had excellent intermediate times for three quarters of the race but lost all the advantage in the final stretch. A good overall result at home for the Italian team with also Roberta Melesi finishing in 18th position.

Two bad falls occurred to the Norwegian Kajsa Vickhoff Lie and the Rosina Schneeberger, (AUT), causing a double interruption of the race.The two athletes were brought by the rescue helicopters of Aiut Alpin Dolomites and 118 to the Trento hospital, both with a tibia fibula fracture.

To both racers go the best wishes to recover soon from all the other athletes who praised and thanked at the same time the Organisation headed by by Andrea Weiss, who proved to be up to the task and is now willing to go on with the work set in the last recent years. His goal is to try to find for Val di Fassa an increasingly larger space in the skiing international race calendar.
In this sense, the two European Cup races scheduled for the next few days also take on value. Val di Fassa and the La VolatA slope, in fact, will be protagonist again on Tuesday 2 and Wednesday 3 March, with two Super-G races in the continental circuit.

After the race Brignone welcomed her success with great satisfaction. "Today I finally succeeded in bringing all the best I was doing in training also while racing," she said, "I was feeling well and in good shape, I was also having good sensations while skiing. But until yesterday important results hadn’t come and this was becoming very frustrating to me as I was not able explain it to myself. At the beginning of the season, I got good placements even if I wasn’t skiing well. Recently it was happening right the opposite. Until yesterday. Succeeding in getting sixteen victories like Deborah Compagnoni is of great satisfaction for me. Nevertheless I must confess that I am not completely satisfied and that I do not believe that I’am at the end of my journey. I still have many dreams to accomplish and I won’t let poor results to influence me too much as it has been happening in this period. Living badly for less podiums is not worth it."

"These were three wonderful days of competition but also very hard to face in rapid succession," explained Lara Gut-Behrami, ranked second today. "Now I feel very tired and can't wait to rest for a few days to recharge the batteries. As for the Lenzerheide finals, anything could happen: the snow will change, athletes are all quite tired now and it’s hard to make any predictions. As far as I'm concerned I'll just try to ski at my best."

"I leave Val di Fassa with three podiums, a second and two third positions," declared Corinne Suter, " therefore I will remember it with great joy. I have found myself at ease on this track again today, the snow was perfect and I have felt excellent sensations. As for the two athletes injured today, I believe that both were skiing too aggressively on a track with excellent snow conditions."

"In the Super-G of the combined race at the Cortina World Championships I made peace with this discipline," explained Elena Curtoni, ranked fourth today. "I liked this race so much, because it has many turns and technical stretches, ideal track for all the Italian athletes. Today I have really enjoyed the race but I’m a little bit disappointed for the mistake I made that has costed me one of the first positions. We hope to come back to compete here."

"I wanted to leave Val di Fassa holding something in my hands, after two unsatisfying downhill training runs and today I finally picked up some results," explained Francesca Marsaglia, fifth today. "I’m a little bit disappointed for the podium missed for a few hundredths but I found this Super-G one of the funniest I have ever faced in my career."

American, Breezy Johnson, whose previous best super-G result was 16th in Lake Louise, Canada in 2016, was thrilled with the top-10 result and her progression in the discipline. “I have been working really hard in’s the event I want to improve at a lot, it’s the event I respect the most, but I also think it’s the hardest event,” Johnson said. “I’m starting to feel it click since Garmisch, basically, and it’s been getting better and better—that kind of race feeling in the racecourses, which is hard because when you train it’s not quite the same as the racecourses.”

Johnson, in part, credits the Land Rover U.S. Ski Team’s time spent training on the slope at San Pellegrino for her success. “Actually being able to train in San Pellegrino during the years - even last year, too - was so nice because it’s a much better training hill, and it lets you prepare a little more. I’m feeling better, and obviously running 2, I was pretty nervous because honestly in super-G bib 1 and 2 are kind of the forerunners A and B real-time. I wasn’t sure how everything was going to run, but I wanted to commit to my plan and arc things clean, even if I was a little bit rounder in some places. I think I did that pretty well, and I was happy.”

Up next for the women is a tech series at Jasna, Slovakia, with a giant slalom on Saturday, March 6th, followed by slalom on Sunday, March 7th.

Race result

Thanks to Val di Fassa for quotes and the US Ski team for quotes from Breezy Johnson.

Pictures all courtesy of Zoom Agence

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