Feb 10, 2024, 09:56 AM ET
SOLDEU, Andorra — Swiss skier Lara Gut-Behrami came from a long way behind to win a women’s World Cup giant slalom by one-hundredth of a second on Saturday, and overtake the absent Mikaela Shiffrin on top of the overall standings.
Gut-Behrami improved from ninth position after the opening run to edge out New Zealand’s Alice Robertson. Shiffrin’s teammate AJ Hurt finished 0.15 behind in third for the American’s first career podium in GS.
Enjoying a three-race winning streak, Gut-Behrami raised her season’s tally to 1,214 points, five more than Shiffrin, who sits out this weekend’s races to nurse a left knee injury.
“Yes, but this is probably one month too early,” Gut-Behrami said with a smile on regaining the lead in the overall standings with 14 races left until the season ends on March 23.
“For the overall World Cup, this season has shown us that you have to be fast and you have to be healthy. That will always be my top priority,” said Gut-Behrami, who also led the standings after winning the season-opening race in Austria in October.
Many top skiers have been involved in serious crashes lately and suffered season-ending injuries, including Petra Vlhova, Valerie Grenier and Corinne Suter, and Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, Alexis Pinturault and Marco Schwarz on the men’s circuit.
Shiffrin injured her knee, but avoided damage to the ligaments, while landing from a jump and crashed into the safety netting at a downhill in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, 15 days ago.
She will also skip Sunday’s slalom in Andorra as her return to racing is yet unclear. Gut-Behrami does not compete in that discipline.
“I am just so happy about the win. It was a tough race, I missed completely the first run, I didn’t come into speed,” said Gut-Behrami, who finished 0.61 seconds off the pace in the morning session.
Marta Bassino led Federica Brignone for an Italian one-two finish in the opening run, but they dropped to sixth and fourth, respectively.
Bassino was the junior world GS champion 10 years ago. She won the World Cup title in the discipline in 2021 but has won just one World Cup race over the last three years.
Most racers struggled and lost time on a bump in a right turn near the end of the course. Gut-Behrami did as well, but the rest of her run was near-flawless.
“Second run was good, I just attacked. I had a big mistake on the finish so I’m really happy that in the end it worked out,” she said. “Everything I was missing in the first run, I wanted to show in the second run. The course was nice, I enjoyed that.”
Hurt continued her breakthrough World Cup season with her second career podium, and first in GS.
“I think I just went as hard as I could. I was like, I’m going to go all out, either I fall out or I I’m going to make it to the finish hopefully really fast,” the California native said.
Hurt earned her first podium when placing third at a slalom in Slovenia five weeks ago, and had two top-10 results in GS before Saturday’s race.
American teammate Paula Moltzan finished 11th.