Lara Gut-Behrami is back on the top step of the podium ! The skier from Ticino flew through the first downhill in Crans-Montana, beating Corinne Suter.
The celebrations were in full swing on Friday morning on the Haut-Plateau! While large crowds came to watch the downhill, transferred from Rosa Khutor (RUS), the Swiss provided the entertainment on the Mont Lachaux piste. And Lara Gut-Behrami was back on form, securing a prestigious win, her first in the Valais resort that aspires to host the World Championships in 2025. As for the Swiss, only Marie-Theres Nadighas has won here, back in 1981.
Above all, it is the first World Cup win in two years for the skier from Comano, who hasn’t had a win in downhill since 28 January 2017, before the serious injury to her left knee during the warm—up for the Worlds in Saint-Moritz. But in Friday’s sunshine, she flew through the downhill from start to finish, and did a perfect job of showing off her technical expertise on the demanding Valais piste. Lara Gut-Behrami took first place 0″80 in front of Corinne Suter.
Corinne Suter heading for the Globe
The 25 year old athlete from Schwyz made a few mistakes, which ultimately cost her the victory. However she ensured that Switzerland ended up with a double win, the first in the women’s races since 9 December 2017 in Saint-Moritz (Jasmine Flury and Michelle Gisin), also securing an excellent result inher race towards the crystal globe in the discipline. She will have the opportunity to seize it on Saturday, in the second downhill on the Haut-Plateau. The downhill vice world champion is 120 points ahead of the Czech Ester Ledecka (11th place on Friday), and there are only two downhill races left this winter.
It should also be noted that although the Austrian Stephanie Venier took the third podium place on Friday, Joana Hählen completed the excellent Swiss result. Despite a few scares, particularly at the top of the course, she managed a sound 7th place, alongside Federica Brignone, who is catching up to Mikaela Shiffrin, who is absent, in the overall World Cup ranking. Finally, Michelle Gisin and Jasmine Flury did not finish.
DEPREZphoto sa, cransmontana/Agence Zoom
|1st Lara Gut-Behrami/SUI|
|2nd Corinne Suter/SUI|
|3rd Stephanie Venier/AUT|
|4th Petra Vlhova/SVK|
|5th Breezy Johnson/USA|
Lara Gut-Behrami: “I skied without thinking”
Lara Gut-Behrami and Corinne Suter savour their double podium in Crans-Montana. The two Swiss analyse their performance on the Mont Lachaux piste.
On the podium in Crans-Montana, with the sound of the Swiss national hymn in the air and Swiss flags blowing in Valais’ azure blue sky, Lara Gut-Behrami and Corinne Suter, winner and runner-up in the first Crans-Montana downhill, naturally appeared to be delighted. The two Swiss athletes demonstrated their class on the Mont-Lachaux piste, which many see as the most difficult piste on the circuit.
Lara Gut-Behrami, on the top step of the podium, is relishing the moment. Beating Corinne Suter by 0.80 seconds, she has just proved something, even if she doesn’t dare to use the term. “We often talk about proof or satisfaction after difficult times, but today I simply managed to do what I set out to do”, she adds. The skier from Ticino has been waiting for over two years for success in the World Cup. Since her knee injury during the Saint-Moritz Worlds in 2017, the skier from Comano has been chasing her former skiing prowess, which had enabled her to monopolise podiums previously. “It wasn’t easy to find the solution. I have a tendancy to overthink.”
On Friday in Crans-Montana, it was exactly the opposite that happened for Lara Gut-Behrami, who skied “without thinking”. “It was straightforward, fluid. When you ski the line , when you’re active, it’s possible to achieve this kind of result”, she smiles, while remaining lucid. “It takes time, sometimes years, to find this feeling again. But that’s not to say that I’ll manage to repeat this kind of performance every weekend, or that I’ll win races by two seconds. But I’m regaining fluidity again, so that I’ll be faster in all situations, to be able to compete against the best. ”
Corinne Suter: “I’m trying not to think about the Globe”
Behind Lara, Corinne Suter is also delighted with her 2nd place, a year after her first podium place in the World Cup on this same Mont Lachaux piste. “Crans-Montana works pretty well for me”, she says with a huge smile, on the podium for the 7th time in her career. “When I crossed the finish line, it was a really special feeling. I felt good on the piste,” she added.
With this 2nd place, Corinne Suter takes a huge step towards the downhill Globe. She is now 120 points in front of Czech Ester Ledecka. With two races left in the discipline, including the second downhill in Crans-Montana, Suter could be crowned tomorrow on the Haut-Plateau. “But I’m trying not to pay too much attention to it, even if the Globe is in the back of my mind. However I don’t want to put myself under pressure, as that would be counter-productive.” Especially since she felt “nervous” today before the start of the race. “There are a lot of people, and I want to go fast.”
Video: Johan Tachet/SkiActu