Val d’Isere, France – Colorado’s Lindsey Vonn just missed the top step of the podium by the smallest of margins on Friday, finishing second to Switzerland’s Lara Gut in the Audi FIS Ski World Cup alpine combined staged in Val d’Isere.
“I skied as hard as I could in the downhill knowing Lindsey would be faster,” Gut said while celebrating her 14th World Cup win. “And then I did my best in the slalom. I crossed the line with the sensation I had done my job. And it finally was enough.
“I adore this race. I’m especially happy to win here,” she added. It was Gut’s second victory in Val d’Isere, after winning the downhill in 2012.
Vonn led the way in the morning downhill, taking a 0.38 lead over Gut into the afternoon slalom. However, Gut nailed the top portion of the slalom course to pull into the lead. With only two days of slalom training this season, Vonn saw her advantage slip away on the upper portion of the slalom course, before letting the skis run on the bottom and almost pulling off a the victory. She crossed the line just 0.01 off Gut’s winning time. Austria’s Michaela Kirchgasser rounded out the podium in third.
“On the top, I definitely felt the aggressive snow,” Vonn said. “It took me a while to kind of get into the rhythm of everything. Then, once I hit the last flush coming into the flats I felt better, but then I got hung up maybe three gates from the finish.”
“I could analyze myself all day long and I could find a hundredth on every single turn, but you know I gave it my best shot, and considering how much slalom I’ve trained, which is pretty much nothing, it was a really good performance,” she added. “So, I’m happy with it. Maybe one hundredth faster would’ve been nice, but you win and lose by hundredths all the time, so it’s just part of the sport.”
American’s placed three others into the top 30 Friday, including Laurenne Ross, of Bend, Ore., finishing 15th despite dislocating her left shoulder and suffering whiplash in a downhill training run finish line crash Thursday.
“It was definitely painful today,” Ross said of her injured shoulder. “Getting out of the start was really hard.” She added that getting back on her skis Friday and posting a solid result is motivation for Saturday’s downhill. “It definitely gave me a bit of confidence and reminded me of how fast I can ski.”
Up next, the women compete in downhill today at Val d’Isere and giant slalom Sunday in Courchevel, France.
FIS Alpine Ski World Cup
Val d’Isere, France – Dec. 18, 2015