Mikaela Shiffrin wins World Cup super-G for back-to-back speed wins
The Associated Press
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland — Mikaela Shiffrin won a World Cup super-G on Saturday, confirming the slalom great’s arrival as a pure speed racer and all-round threat.
Shiffrin, who got her first career super-G win last weekend, was 0.28 seconds faster than Lara Gut-Behrami and 0.42 clear of third-placed Tina Weirather on the sun-soaked Engiadina course in St. Moritz.
Saturday’s race was just Shiffrin’s 10th super-G start in her nine seasons on the World Cup circuit, and the win days ago at Lake Louise, Canada, had been her first podium finish in the discipline.
“I did not expect to win today,” Shiffrin said, acknowledging the confidence boost she brought from Canada to Switzerland. “Something is working right now and I’m enjoying it. Coming into this race I thought, ‘Yeah, now I have no excuses.’”
Victory was a 47th on the World Cup tour for the 23-year-old American. Her fourth victory in eight races this season already gives her a runaway lead in defense of her overall World Cup title.
With a maximum 200 points from the two super-G races this season, Shiffrin can afford to avoid some speed races.
Shiffrin plans to skip the next World Cup stop — rescheduled downhill and super-G races on Dec. 18-19 at Val Gardena, Italy — to focus on preparing for her specialist technical events of slalom and giant slalom.
“Pick and choose which races seem to be appropriate,” she said, targeting her favored races on Dec. 21-22 at Courchevel, France.
Shiffrin pointed to a little luck of the draw Saturday, getting start bib No. 12, which let her see tricky gates set by a Norway team coach that caught out earlier racers, including Olympic silver medalist Anna Veith.
“If you were off balance, (you had) no chance,” Shiffrin said. “My coaches did a great job to say exactly where I needed to be smart and where I could just go like a crazy woman.”
Shiffrin’s run denied Gut-Behrami a repeat of her first career win in this race 10 years ago as a 17-year-old breakout star. Weirather is a two-time winner of the St. Moritz super-G and the Olympic bronze medalist.
Olympic champion Ester Ledecka extended her run of disappointing World Cup super-G results, finishing 2.64 back in 29th place. Ledecka, whose only top-15 result in super-G was her gold medal run at Pyeongchang, seemed in discomfort after the race.
The St. Moritz meeting includes a parallel giant slalom event Sunday in the head-to-head racing format.
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